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Picturesque American Biographies 

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A complete history of the funny, comical, unreasonable, rich, 

■ rare and peculiar things that hapened, transpired and 

turned up during my three years of life liberty 

and pursuit of hapiness along the rocky 

path of life down in old Arkansaw 

This Book Sent Postpaid to Any Address on Receipt of 25c 



Copyright 1904 


Marion Hughes 


^ I am no schollar or society dude So you must 
excuse my Plain Arkansawyan language for that 
is all I know. 

I lived in Arkansaw so long that I hav forgot 
where the dead line is between decency and vul- 
garity, but I have used no language that an Ar- 
kansaw Simday schoor teacher would not use. 

I was raised on a farm in the back woods of 
Pike County, Indeane and never went to school 
only a little in the fall after the farm work was 

In '79 I went to Custer Co., Neb., farmed, 
five years then moved to Sheridan Co., raised 
cattle and nm a hotel, moved to Box Butte Co., 
built the first house in Aliance moved to Rock 
Springs, Wyoming in '89, went to Guthrie, Okla- 
homa, worked at carpenter v/ork, run a hotel and 
second hand store and la wed Kansas Sooners and 
Political thieves for six years. Then got disgusted 
with what they called civilization and moved to 
the mountains of South West Arkansaw and rote 
this book called "Three Years in Arkansaw." 

I hav w^orked at nearly all kind of trades, been 
in all kind of business except saloon and Banking 

Never was a Railroad conductor but hav pulled 
the bell cord over a mule's tail across a cornfield 
a many a hot day. 


6 Who Am I f 

Had nearly all kind of contagious diseases, 
Namely: mumps, Meazles, Whooping cough, 
Chicken pox. Seven year itch, three Kind of lice 
and one Side of my head is Paralized. Bin maried 
Twenty-three years, raised a flock of children, all 
girls but five have moved forty-eight times since 
I hav bin maried, am Forty-nine years old and 
seen fun and trouble enough to be Two hundred, 

I came to the conclusion that what I know and 
don't know would make a powerful book and I 
thought I would Tackle Arkansaw first and if I 
made a mess of it they would never know the 
difference, but if it is a success I shall expect the 
legislature of Arkansaw to giv me a handsom 
donation for boosting their State into Notariety. 

Marion Hughes. 

Muskogee, Ind. Ty, 

Why should I write a book called, Three Years 
in Arkansaw? I will tell you, I have lived in 
sixteen states, and Arkansaw is the best state I 
ever saw, to read about, to write about, sing 
about or talk about. 

Arkansaw is one of the best stock raising states 
in the union, but you must know what kind of 
stock to raise; it is adapted for the raising of 
Ostriches, goats, hounds, and bull-frogs; put an 
Illinois farmer on a thousand acres of Arkansaw 
land and give him a lot of thoroughbred horses 
cattle and hogs, and he would starve to death at 
farming and raising stock ; but put an Arkansaw- 
yer on forty acres, and half of that a frog pond, 
and he will let the other half grow up in Persim- 
mons, and raise hounds, and live to be a hundred 
and fifty years old, and never be out of hearing 
of his own dogs barking. 

8 Three Years in Arkansaw 

The reason Ostrich raising in Arkansaw is such 
a grand success, is because they can Hve on stones. 

Arkansaw is the banner honey state. They 
get more honey from one stand of bees than any 
other state. The reason of that is, they cross 
the bees with hghtning bugs — so they will work 

They raise more children with less cost or pro- 
vocation in Arkansaw than any place I ever 
lived. It don't cost any more to raise children 
than it does hogs. It costs as much too keep 
yokes and bells on the hogs as it does to keep 
shirts on the kids, they are no trouble except of 
a Sunday pioming they have to catch the young 
'uns with the dogs ; then their motheik washes 
their faces, takes a fine comb and combs off the 
bigest ones, puts clean shirts on them and turns 
them loose. They go bareheaded, barefooted 
and in their shirttails and work in the cotton an 
tobacco patch until the next Sunday, when she 
rounds them up again. 

They have almos'fe- quit frog-raising in Arkan- 
saw. The frogs was so bad to gump and it cost 
so much to fence. 

I lived in Arkansaw three years. All you have 
to do is, to know what the country is adapted to 
and do that, and you will make money, and live 
to be a hundred. A man may take fifty mare 
mules, and go to the best town in the United 
States, and start a dairy, and he wdll starve to 
death. They are not built for that purpose. 
You may go to Arkansaw^ and raise corn, wheat, 
oats and potatoes, and you will find out it was 
not made for that purpose, and you will starve 



lo Three Years in Arkansaiv 

to death about as quick as you will breeding and 
milking mare mules. 

It takes two to plant com in Arkansaw, one 
pries the rocks apart with a crowbar the other 
fires the seed down the crack with a syringe. 

One trouble with Arkansaw, people from the 
North go down there, and before they get used 
to the climate, custom.s and corn bread, they get 
disgusted with everything, and leave, and tell 
hard yarns on the state, when it is like the Queen 
of Sheba said about Solomon, ''The half has 
never been told." 

There was a yankee family moved to Arkan- 
saw, and there was a dog- wood tree in the yard, 
one day they saw the little girl out under the 
tree with a basket, and a nice bed in it, they 
asked her what she was doing. O, said she, 
don't you se^ this dog- wood tree in bloom? Yes 
we see that. Well, when the pups get ripe I 
am going to get some of them in the basket and 
raise them.. Now dog raising in Arkansaw is a 
profitable business, but they don't grow on trees. 
There is always a good market for hound pups 
at a good price. 

I once met an Arkansawyer in Oklahoma who 
had gone west to grow up with civilization, and 
had got stranded and was up against it hard, 
and was compelled to have some money he 
offered to sacrifice a beautiful, well bred, half 
grown hound pup for the pitiful sum of one 
dollar and fifty cents, just in order to get back 
home to the stony state. He said if he had that 
ur purp back in Arkansaw it would bring fifteen 
dollars as quick as wink. 

Three Years in Arkansaw ii 

Arkansaw has so many sides is the reason about 

half the lyes they tell on the state is the truth, 

everybody sees a diferend side of it, there is th^- 

Inside and outside, 

Upside and downside, 

Top side and bottom side. 

North side and south side, 

East side and west side, 

\¥et side and dry side. 

Rocky side and swampy side, 

Hard side and soft side, 

Hary side and feathery side, 

Mudy side and clear side. 

Political side and religious side, 

Labor side and capital side, 

Democrat side and republican side, 

Populist side and temperance side, 

Drunken side and sober side, 
Farming side and mining side, 
Hunting side and fishing side, 
Long side and short side, 
Living side and starving side. 
Human side and animal side. 
Mans side and womans side. 
Civilized side and wild side. 
Right side and left side. 
Rough side and smooth side 
Rich side and poor side, 
Dark side and light side, 
Front side and back side. 
Sunny side and shady side, 
Winning side and loosing side. 
Married side and single side. 
Healthy side and sickly side, 


Three Years m Arkansaw 

Hot side and cold side, 
Grassy side and sandy side. 
Sweet side and bitter side, 
Skinny side and bony side, 

About all the farming that is done in Arkan- 
saw at present is fruit raising, mostly blackberries. 
The people did not turn their attention to fruit 
raising, but the}^ turned their attention to coon 
and squirrel hunting, and dancing, and the briars 
do the rest. They will clear up and fence a field, 


and go to farming it the first year, the briars' 
grow up in the fence comers, the second year 
they take four or five com rows, and so on every 
year, the briars close in on the farmer, and the 
first thing he knows they have met in the middle 
of the field, and he is closed out. Briars close 
out and take more farms in Arkansaw than mort- 
gages ever did in Kansas. When you are travel- 
ing through the country, and want to talk to a 

Three Years in Arkansaw 13 

farmer, you have to tie your horse, and climb 
over the fence and crawl one hundred and fifty 
yards through a briar patch, then you will find 
him plowing about an acre of ground to raise his 
farewell corn crop in the center of the field. They 
only have one way to get rid of briars, that is 
move off and leave them. 

There is all kinds of minerals in Arkansaw that 
there is in the world, and some that has never 
been discovered anywhere else. There is more 
prospecting, and less mining than in any other 
state. There is fine prospects on top of the 
ground, but when you go down the mineral ain't 
there. The settlements in Arkansaw are along 
the rivers, and creeks, and up the gulches. There 
was a mining outfit started to drill in the side 
of a mountain, instead of drilling straight down 
they drilled crosswise in the side of the mountain. 
After a few days work the drill struck a cavity 
or cave as they supposed and they pulled it out 
and there was a coonskin fast on the drill, the 
whole neighborhood went wild over their coon- 
skin mine, but in three or four days they heard 
from the other side of the mountain and the 
people over there were all on the war path, they 
said the Chinaman had bored a hole through the 
earth and was stealing their coon hides. The drill 
had rubbed up against the side of the house and 
got the coonskin tangled on the bit and pulled it 
out threw the hole. The excitement soon died 
away, but they left the hole open for a speaking 
tube, so one settlement could notify the other 
when they were going to have a dance. 

There is but few carpenters in Arkansaw for 

14 Three Years in Arkansaw 

they don't need them ; about all they do is to 
make and hang doors and make lead troughs; 
the doors to the log houses are made out of clap- 
boards and hang with a wooden hinge, and the 
farmers in these narrow^ gorges and gulches have 
lots of lead troughs put up in zig zig shape to 
run the sunshine down to the crop. 

The inhabitants of Arkansaw are a very pecu- 
liar people, but that is not at all strange when 
you understand their origin. The human race 
originated in the Garden of Eden. None of the 
descendants of Adam and Eve would live in 
Arkansaw, then the great question was how and 
by whom shall it be inhabited, but there was an 
Irishman who married a white woman and moved 
to Arkansaw and their first bom was twins. The 
mother being of a frail nature, they hired a negro 
woman to work for them and help nurse the 
babies. As the children did not thrive, they 
bought a goat and milked it and fed the children. 
They grew and waxed strong, so they were the 
origin of the Natives in Arkansaw. They were 
a cross between an Irishman and a white woman 
and were raised on negro and goat milk. That 
is why the natives of Arkansaw possess so many 
peculiarities that the human race or the des- 
cend ents of Adam does not possess. They seem 
to inherit the disposition of their foreparents. 
That is the Irishman, the white woman, the negro 
and the goat. 

They are very hearty, tall robust, rough and 
ready — ^that is ready to eat or take a drink of 
whiskey. They have a very large mouth and 
voice like a mule's father They are like the 

Three Years tn Arkansaw 


Irish, fight one minute and be good friends the 
next. They are also witty, wirey, wild and wool- 
ey, will eat and won't work. 

I don't know whether the food one is raised 
on has anything to do with their disposition or 
not, but I have always heard that they could tell 
a boy or girl that was raised on mooly cows milk 
by their actions. A negro is just as near heavin 

origiimal settlers of arkansaw 

as he wants to be when he has a full belly and 
a gold ring, but an Arkansawyer is perfectly 
satisfied with the full belly with-out any ring/- 

About all they inherited from the goat is there 
whiskers and apetite. Their whiskers are long 
and resemble a goat's. A goat can live on any 
kind of victuals except tanbark. An Arkansawyer 

1 6 Three Years in Arkansaw 

can live all summer and raise a crop on corn- 
bread and sowbelly, and it don't make any dif- 
ference if anything should turn his stomach, for 
one side is as good as the other, and he can eat 
right on. Very few people ever saw a dead negro 
or a dead mule, and very few people ever saw an 
Arkansawyer or a goat that v/as sick at the 

One question that has never bin decided is, 
did the natives learn the goats to swear or did 
the goats learn the natives to swear? One thing 
sure a native and a goat can both swear by note. 

The oldest people in the world at the present 
time live in Arkansaw, they don't know how old 
they are as they can't read or \vrite but they 
will take you out in the woods and show you 
the largest Oak they can find and tell you they 
saw the acorn fall that grew it. Some of them 
have heads that looks like they had worn out 
two or three bodies. 

When I went to Arkansaw I went through 
Texes, got the wind in my favor, and came up 
on the blind side of Texarkana. The next day 
I took a train and w^ent about fifty miles north 
to a little town, built at the end of the Railroad, 
called Horatio, it was a nice little new town 
built away back of the field on Mr. Prides farm, 
an old man that had been there ever since long 
before the war. It was at the foot of the hills 
just at the north edge of the swamiT^s of Little 
River. There was bull frogs that you could hear 
crocking for three miles, and mosquitoes by the 
millions and millions, and the milk cows and 
coon dogs dying with the chills. 

Three Years tn Arkansaw 17 

The town consisted of about a half dozen stores, 
three boarding houses, one saw mill, one shingle 
mill and a post office, and one deputy marshal 
by the name of Warth Mill wee, who run a board- 
ing house and run in moon -shiners occasionally. 
His daughter kept the post office and handed 
out the mail, when any one came, and read the 
letters, for those that could not read or write. 
The town was very dull until in the fall, when the 
farmers and hunters began to bring in their coon 
skins, cotton,, fruit and pork. 

Horatio being at the end of the railroad that 
came from the south it was over a htmdred miles 
West, North and East to a railroad town, so 
they came 50 and 60 miles out of the motmtains 
to bring their products to market and buy their 
winter shoes and tobacco. You could always 
tell what they were loaded with, when they 
would drive in town. They would have a forked 
stick fastened to the front end of the wagon and 
if they were loaded with apples there would be 
four or five of the nicest apples sticking on top 
of the prongs of the limb and if they were loaded 
with hogs they would have two or three dressed 
hogs stuck up on top of the switch so the mer- 
chants could see what they had. I examined 
one wagon that was loaded with hogs. They 
had been hauled about sixty miles down out of 
the mountains, and was packed in the wagon 
like sardines in a box. I only wanted to buy a 
dozen or two, but he wanted to sell me the whole 
load. He told me I could get half my money 
back for the Ivory, as they had very large teeth, 
but I was not buying and shipping ivory, so I 

ig Three Years tn Arkansaw 

didn't purchase. Sometimes one wagon would 
contain one bale of cotton, a dozen hogs, sack of 
dried peaches and a bundle of coon and opossum 
hides, and they would sell them and get their 
winter's clothing and provisions, which would 
consist of a pair of boots for the old man, a bolt of 
checked goods to make dresses for the old woman 
and girls, a barrel of salt, one hundred pounds 
of flour, ten pounds of tobacco, a dozen bottles 
of snuff and the rest in amunition. They would 
never put up at a hotel or restaurant. They 
would bring an old quilt along and camp out 
and sleep imder the wagon. They would bring 
com bread, sow-belly and a bucket of beans 
along to eat. They would get along all right if 
the beans didn't sour in the pail or on their 

As Horatio is situated at the foot-hills, just 
north of the Little River swamps, and at the 
south side of the Rich Mountain range, the people 
from the hills and swamps both came there to 
trade, and as they were all kinds of people, from 
all kinds ot a country, they brought all kinds of 
hogs to sell. 

Arkansaw has a greater variety of hogs, and 
less pork and lard than any state in the union. 
Like other states, they have the two-legged hog, 
without tail or bristle, but an unlimited amoimt 
of gall. There is a great many wild hogs in the 
mountains and in the swamps. -They are very 
dangerous, and hard to catch. They also have a 
great many varieties of semi-domesticated hogs. 
They have the razorback, hazel-splitter, fish hog, 
center hog, Stellyard hog, Tryo hog. Handspike 

Three Years in Arkansaw 


hog, stone hog, sav/ hog and chicken-fottecl hog. 
They don't raise any Poland China, Berkshire, 
Chester white hogs, or Jersey reds, because they 
can't. The wolves and bears would eat them up, 
but a wolf or bear can't catch a native hog, and if 
it did the hog would whip it in a fair fight. 

The razorback is so called because their back is 
so sharp. They are shaped like a sunfish, or a 
hickory shade. When you shoot at one you will 
have to shoot at it sidewise, or you can't hit it. 


To shoot at one endways would be like shooting 
at the end of a shingle, and about as hard to hit. 
The hazel splinter is so called because their nose 
is so sharp that when they are running and their 
nose strikes a brush it will split the stick ; other- 
wise they are about the same as a razorback, ex- 
cept they get very large. They are like an alli- 
gator, they grow till they die; they inhabit the 
mountains west of Hot Springs. I saw some mam- 
moth hazel-splinters there. I saw one that 
dressed fourteen pounds with its head on, and six 
and a half with its head cut off. 

20 Three Years in Arkansaw 

The fish hog is so caled because they live 
principally on fish shells and crawfish. They are 
scarcely ever seen, except in swamps and in 
lakes and rivers. You will see them sitting on 
the bank of a river or pond, or out on a log as 
quietly as a cat watching for a mouse. All at 
once they go head first in the water, and nearly 
always come cut with a fish in their mouth. 
They are usually very fat. The natives kill and 
eat them, but a human being that is not accus- 
tomed to them don't like them, because they taste 
so much like fish. They dress them like a bull- 
frog — save the hind legs and throw the rest away, 
as there is not meat enough on the body to pay for 

The Center breed is so called because their ears 
are in the center of the body. It is the same dis - 
tance from the ears to the end of the nose as it is 
to the end of the tail. They are not raised much 
at present, as they are so small and bony it hardly 
pays to clean one after it is killed The Steel- 
yard hog is raised more than any other, because 
they are a very healthy hog, can live on any kind 
of feed they can get. They live on acorns, beech 
nuts, grass, roots, grasshoppers or anything they 
can catch on the land or in the water; they are 
called Steelyard hogs on account of the manner 
in which the farmers kill them. 

When they v/ant to kill the Steelyard hogs the^ 
get the btmch up in a pen, and get in and catch one 
by the ears, and hold him up ; and if he is so fat 
that his body will go down and head raise up, they 
kill them ; but if the head is heavier than the body, 
and the head goes down, and the tail flies up, 

Three Years in Arkansaw 21 

they are too poor to kill, and they throw him back 
into the woods, and they are free for three or four 
more weeks, when they are rounded up again, to 
see if they are any fatter, or found wanting. 

The Tryo hog is very small, quick and active, 
resembles a cat about as much as a hog; they are 
so very quick and active. They live principally 
on bugs and flies. They are called Tryo hogs be- 
cause they always go three in a group when out 
far away or in search of food, when they come to a 
small fiat rock one will lie down for the chunk; 
number two will put his nose under the rock and 
over the one that is lying down and then suddeny 
jerk up his legs and pry up the rock, and num- 
ber three is ready to jump under and catch 
the bug or worms that may be under the rock; 
then they go to another rock, when the one 
that gets the bug before lays down for the 
chunk and one of the others get the bug and 
so they take turn about being chunks, prying and 
getting the bugs. They are about as large as 
an average size hog, when they are very fat. One 
hog is about large enough to season a pot of 

The hand spiked hog, is the longest hog in 
Arkansaw, they are sometimes known to be seven 
feet long, and as large around as a stovepipe,their 
legs are long and small; an old sow usually gets 
to be fourteen hands high, and can trot a mile in 
less than 2 140, they go in large droves and are 
called handspike hogs from the peculiar way they 
get through the fence ; when a herd of them wants 
to get in a com field, one will lay down by the 
fenc, another put his nose imder the fence and 

Three Years in Arkansaw 23 

over the body of the one lying down and pry up 
the fence so the whole herd of hogs can crawl 
through, then two of them make a gap the same 
way on the other side and let the other two in, 
and when they eat all they want, they go out 
the same w^ay; sometimes they will eat up a 
whole field of corn, before the farmer knows how 
they are getting in or out. They are fine eating. 
When a farmer kills one they make sauce out 
of the head and feet, and have a mess of back 
bones, and that is all there is of it. Sometimes 
the boys save the hides for a marble sack. The 
handspike hog is not raised very much at present ; 
they crossed them with centipedes so they would 
have more hams, then they got afraid they was 
poison and wouldn't eat them. The stone hog 
is the most peculiar hog there is in the state. 
They are bad to fight, will fight among themselves 
or anything that comes along; when they get in 
a fight they never stop until they die. You have 
to kill them to get away or they will kill you. 
They are not raised very extensively now as they 
are hard to raise, mean to keep, and not very 
good to eat. The reason they are called stone 
hogs, is because their nose is so long, and head 
so heavy that they balance up behind, and their 
nose runs in the ground. When they are running 
and turn a summersalt, they break their necks, 
so the owner has to keep the stone tied to their 
tail, to keep them from breaking their necks. 
And when the stone is too heavy it pulls the 
skin over their eyes and makes them go blind. 
The Saw hog takes the premium for a freak 
of nature : they seem to be a combination of all 

74 Three Years in Arkansaw 

the good and bad qualities of all the Arkansaw 
hogs, they have a long body and legs like a hand- 
spike hog, thin body like a hazel splinter, and 
sharp back like a razor back, they are hard 
fighters, fast runners and good swimmers, and 
can live on grass, roots and rabbit tracks. They 
are hardly ever eaten except of a hard winter or 
a drought. They are called Saw Hogs because they 
are the original Arkansaw saw and are used by the 
natives to saw wood with, and I never saw a saw 
that would saw like the natives will saw with a 
Saw hog in Arkansaw. When they want to saw 
some wood it takes two men and two boys to 
run one of those original Arkansaw saw mills. 
They catch an old and poor sow, buckle a strap 
on her nose to keep her from biting their legs, 
then they turn her over on her back across a 
log, one man at each end ahold of her legs for 
handles, one boy ahold of her ears and one ahold 
of her tail, to help pull her through. When they 
get started yo-i can hear the bark and splinters 
flying and the old sow squeeling for three miles. 
If a stranger that never saw one of those mills 
running should hear one start up he would think 
there was an Oklahoma cyclone not forty yards 
away. The worst trouble with these saws is 
you can't file or set 'em. When they get to 
pinching you have to turn her loose and catch 
another one. 

The Chicken footed hog is the scarcest of any 
hog in the state. They are very fine eating, easy 
to raise, are good hustlers, because they can 
scratch and root, they can climb like a paiTot, 
scratch like a hen, and root like a Steelyard hog* 

Three Years in Arkansaw 25 

they are not wild or dangerous, and always come 
home to roost. They were first discovered by 
the civilized world by a lot of mining prospectors 
that ventured away out in the mount ians along 
the east line of Polk County, and the south Hne 
of Mongomery and Garland, they came upon an 
old mountianeer's home about dark; they noticed 
an old sow and about twenty shoats that had 
gone to roost on top of the wood-pile and fence 
and some on the low branches of the trees. They 
asked what kind of fowls they were, but the old 
native told them they were chicken-footed hogs. 
He said they only had one fault and that was 
that they wouldn't lay eggs- 

There are but very few cattle in this part of 
the state, North in the hills one cow would starve 
to death. A man always had to have two cows 
or none, one to stradle a bush and bend it over 
while the other would eat the buds and little 
limbs. Cattle would not hve in the swamps for 
the mosquitoes would eat them up. I have seen 
more mosquitoes arotmd the lakes in the north 
than in the swamps in Arkansaw, but they are 
not a fourth as large in the northern country. 
They can track them up in the snow in the wintei 
and kill them; but in Arkansaw, they don't try 
to catch them, they get six and seven years old 
in Arkansaw. You can go down in these swamps 
any time and see eight or ten standing on a log 
picking themselves and listening for a cowbell. 

They raise plenty of horses in Arkansaw for 
their own use, but they raise very few mules. 
The horses are veiy good pullers, have to be to 
get over the hills and through the mud. One 

26 Three Years m Arkansaw 

farmer raised a lot of horses and took a carload 
to Washington City, to sell, but when he came 
back he was all broke up because he couldn't 
sell them. He said the street cars and bug- 
ies was run by lightning, and the goverment 
by jackasses, and they didn't use horses at all, 
so he brought them back and sold them to his 
neighbors on time. He said the next time he 
had horses to sell he would use a little charity 
and begin at home, 

I have helped kill hogs in several states but I 
never knew what a hog killin' time was till I 
came to Arkansaw, When farmers in the states 
kill hogs, they get one or two of the neighbors 
to help. They have the hogs up in a small pen 
where they shoot them or hit them in the head 
with an axe, clean them and put them away all 
the same day, but that isn't the way in Arkansaw ; 
there they get a tent to camp out ; take the big 
kettle, all the guns and dogs and horses to ride 
and sacks to carry them in, then they go away 
out in the woods v/here the hogs range, fix up 
the camp, hang up the kettle where they can 
keep a fire under it near by a spring or branch, 
then they are ready for business. The men and 
boys take their guns and dogs, one boy, rides a 
horse with a sack to bring in the dead ones and 
they start out through the woods and brush 
and shoot every hog they can from a sucking 
pig up ; and when they get a sack full the boy 
takes them in to the camp for the women and girls 
to clean. Then he hurries back to the men so he 
can be gathering up another sack full. The dogs 
go ahead and find the hogs^ and when the hogs 

Three Years in Arkansaw 27 

see the dogs they run after the dogs and they 
run back to the men, who shoot the hogs down 
when they come close. It is very dangerous as 
the hogs are very bad to fight when they are in 
a large bunch. Sometimes the men have to climb 
a tree for safety. The women do the dressing 
of the hogs. They generally have the big kettle 
full of boiling water by the time the carier boy 
gets in with the first sack full. The carier boy 
imties the sack and pours them out by the side 
of the kettle and jumps on his horse and is off 
again to the chase while the women and girls 
gather round. One will pick up a hog by the 
leg or ear and dip it in the hot water, first one end 
and then the other, like scalding a chicken, until 
it is thoroughly scalded, then she takes it to a 
ta,ble or large board where she lays it down and 
scrapes it like a fish; another gets her one and 
so on, until they each have a hog of their own 
to clean. They are too small for two to scrape on 
one hog. After they get a dozen or two cleaned, 
they put two to gutting. They gut a hog like 
v/e used to gut rabbits when I was a boy. One 
takes the hog by the hind legs and holds it up 
while the other takes the guts out ; then they are 
put in baskets and boxes and kept until they go 
home when they are paned and salted down for 
winter and spring use. 

Perhaps you don't know w^hat paning a hog is, 
but it is VQvy simple and easy when you under- 
stand it. When I was a little boy I used to 
drive nails in the mantel over the fire place and 
tie strings to the nails then tie the other end of 
the string to the stem of an apple and let it hang 



Three Years in Arkansaiv 29 

down before the fire and turn round and round 
until it would roast, and then I would eat it. 
Well that is the way they pan hogs in Arkansaw ; 
they tie a twine string to their leg or trail and 
hang them up before the fire and set a piepan 
or saucer under them to catch the grease and 
start them turning round and round. They 
watch them till the greece is out then they take 
them down and put another on the string and 
the empty saucer or piepan, and so on until they 
have all been p^ned, then after they are coolled 
off they get a large box, generally a cracker box, 
and cover the bottom with salt and put a layer 
of hogs, and then a layer of salt until the box is 
full, then the box is put away, and the hogs are 
saved to cook with beans and turnip greens 
during crap time. They eat the meat and beans 
and drink coffee if they have it, if not they drink 
branch water or sasafras tea. 

If the meat is very scarce and about to run 
out, they cook the same piece of meat with 
greens, perhaps a dozen times. One spring near- 
ly everybody was out of meat except one old 
man that had one piece of meat that he was 
cooking with his greens, he loaned it to his son- 
in-law who cooked it with blackeyed peas and 
spoiled it and it made the old man so mad the 
next fall he wouldn't lone him his hounds to go 
a coon hunting with. 

I lived at one time near the line of Masaury 
and Arkansaw, or in other words in Lapland, 
for that is where Masaury laps over in Arkansaw. 
I couldn't see but little difference in the Masaur- 
yans and Arkansawyers. One day I asked an 


Three Years in Arkansaw 

old Masauryan how he could tell them apart ; he 
said it was dead easy; the Masauryan is web 
footed and the Arkansawyer has claws, that is 
the reason some of the young ladies wear shoes; 
they want to marry a man on the other side of 
the line and they want to hide their claws or 
web feet. 

They surveyed the state line between Masaury 
and iVrkansaw not long ago, and changed it north 
about 250 yards, and that 
put the line on the north 
side of an old Masauryans 
house and put him in Ark- 
ansaw. When he came 
home that night, his wife 
met him at the gate and told 
him they had to move, as she 
wouldn't live in that old 
sickly state of Arkansaw. 
'Taw," said the old lady, 
"don't you know we will 
all die with the chills?" 

I use to be a crack shot 
with a rifle, but after I went 
to Arkansaw and saw some of them old long- 
hungry moimtaineers and snake charmers shoot 
their old-fashion human rifles I quit trying to 
shoot. I would sometimes tell them what a crack 
shot I was when I lived in the Rocky Mountains, 
but I quit that when I heard a lady tell about 
her brother shooting, or a woman — you may call 
her what you may, she had a snuff stick in one 
side of her mouth and a chew of Kill -dad tobacco 
i-n the other — she would chew her words up atid 



Three Years in Arkansaw 3t 

spit them and the tobacco juice out together so 
I moved out from under the drip while she was 
talking. When I was fus married, Brer Jake and 
we'uns lived near each other. We'uns lived south 
a Jakes, and there was a big snag with a wood- 
pecker's nest in it south of we 'uns„ One day 
Brer Jake shot at the woodpecker hole in the snag 
and hit its center ; then he shot again, and put the 
bullet right on top of the fust one, and he kept 
shooting and shooting and shooting, a-puttin' 
one bullet right on the tother until he welded a 
string ov um clean up past our house, and I used 
it for a clothesline as long as we lived thar. 

Arkansaw is the greatest place I ever sav/ for 
fish. Go down south of Horatio, in the bottom 
along Little River, and you can scarcely hear it 
thunder for the mosquitoes a-singing and the cat- 
fish a gobbling. They get to be so plentiful in 
the streams, they become a nuisance. One old 
farmer, who lived near the river, had a lot of cows. 
He would get lots of milk in the morning, but 
none at night. So one day he concluded he would 
watch them. So he took his gun and kept away 
behind the cows all day, as he supposed some 
one was milking them; but away along in the 
afternoon the cows went down to the river to 
drink. They waded in the water, and he sat 
down on the bank and watched them. Pretty 
soon he saw a big catfish swimming up to one of 
the cows and commenced sucking her. Then he 
knew where the trouble was. He shot the fish, 
and w^ent in and brought it to the shore. It was 
an old suckle that had young ones. She had tits 
an inch long. The fish got so bad they had to 
keep the cows away from the river. 

^2 Three Years in Arkansaw 

Fishing was great sport in Ar^kansaw. They 
organized fishing parties; sometimes thirt}'' or 
forty in a drove, and go fishing and camp out for 
two or three days. They have a great time get- 
ting their hooks, lines and baits all in good shape. 
They take fr^dng pans and grease along to cook 
them while there, but generally they put a few 
sticks of dinamite in a box and take that along, 
and kill their fish with dinamite, and never catch 
scarcely any with a hook. There was one fishing 
party went from town, and there was an old fat 
hotel man along. He had a very fine large dog, that 
he thought a great deal of, as they always do in 
Arkansaw. The dog was well trained, and very 
smart and industrious. If 3^ou would shoot a 
duck he > would go and get it, or if you would 
throw a stick in the water the dog would swim in 
and bring it out to his master. So they threw a 
stick of dinamite in the water with a fuse to it. 
The fuse was on fire. The dinamite struck a 
brush and did not sink, so the dog started to 
swimx to get it. They all commenced to holler at 
the dog to make him come back, but all in vain. 
He swam to the dinamite ; got it in his mouth, 
and started to the shore, and the fuse burning all 
the while. When he got near the shore, they all 
ran for their lives ; as they knew it would explode 
very soon. They all ran up the river, but the 
old fat hotel man. He started out through the 
green briars and brush, running with all his might, 
and hollering: "Go home, Tige," ever>^ jump, 
and old Tige at his heels, and the fuse a burning. 
Finally the dinamite exploded, and did not hurt 
the old man, but poor old Tige all they found of 

Three Years in Arkansaw 


him was about half an inch of his tail, hanging on 
a green briar, forty yards away. The old man 
took the piece home that they found, and had it 
kiln-dried and sugar-cured, and was wearing it 
for a watch-charm when I left Arkansaw. 

But when it comes to catching large fish Ark- 
ansaw has all the states beat. The largest fish I 



ever saw, read or heard tell of, was caught out of 
the Arkansaw river below Little Rock. It kept 
getting their bait and breaking their lines. Fi- 
nally they had a blacksmith to make a fishhook 
out of a crowbar; they tied it to a steamboat 
cable and baited it w4th a muly cow that had died 
with the holler horn, tied the cable to a tree, and 

34 Three Years tn Arkansaw 

the next morning they had him ; they was afraid 
he would pull a team in the river, so they got all 
the negroes for miles around and pulled him out 
on the bank, and hauled him to town in sections. 
When they cut him open they found inside of him 
another fish that weighed 200 lbs., (by guess) 
three fat hogs, one yoke of oxen and an acre of 
burnt woods. 

When I was a boy we would save the fish if they 
was as large as a pumpkin seed ; but in Arkansaw, 
when the}^ catch a catfish that is not a foot long, 
they cut its ears off and throw it back in the river 
and let it grow larger. They never eat small fish, 
in Arkansaw, except Hickory Shad ; when they 
catch a lot of them they save them, and the way 
they eat them, they strain them through a coarse 
rag and eat the gravy. I existed in Horatio for 
nine months. You see, people in Arkansaw don't 
live ; they only exist. I existed in Horatio, until 
I had become neutralized, and learned a great 
many of the ways of the natives. I could go bare- 
footed among the rocks ; eat corn bread and drink 
sasafras tea; but in the spring C. P. Landon & 
Company sent me about forty miles north, in the 
mountains, on the survey of the Pittsburg and 
Gulf Railway, at a place called Hatton Gap, to run 
a general store for them. It was a little tow^n in 
the mountains that you read about. That is, 
you would read more about it than anj^thing else, 
for there was but little there to see. There w^as 
one store and post-ofnce combined, and one little 
store by itself ; one blacksmith shop and an old 
schoolhouse and church combined, but scarcely 
ever used for either church or school. 

36 Three Years in Arkansaw 

In Arkansaw there is a state law giving each 
school district the privilege of an election each 
year to vote whether they should have a school or 
not. If the majority of the voters in the district 
want a school they can vote for it ; and if a ma- 
jority think an education is a disadvantage to the 
rising generation they vote it down. And this 
had been the case at Hatton Gap. They had not 
had any school there for a long time, but while I 
lived there they had two elections; one Presi- 
dential election, and one school election. At the 
Presidential election there was but little excite- 
ment. It was estimated that over half did not 
vote at all. When the vote was counted, the vote 
for President of the United States stood as fol- 
lows: — W. J. Bryan, 15; Andrew Jackson, 12; 
Jeff Davis, 9; George Washington, 8; Thomas 
Jefferson, 8 ; Moses, 6 ; Abraham, 5 ; John the 
Baptist, 3 ; Daniel Boone, 2 ; William McKinley, i ; 
total number of votes cast, 69. But when the 
school election came off, it was wild excitement 
all day long. There was a lot of people had moved 
in from the States that wanted school, and some 
of the natives wanted school, while others said an 
education only qualified a man for meanness and 
a woman didn't need an education ; so the excite- 
ment ran very high. They went out among the 
hills, and got every old man out that was able to be 
hauled to the poles to vote. They hunted the dis- 
trict over ; went ever}^ where except the graveyard 
for voters. There was one family that had gotten 
into a family row over the education of the chil- 
dren. An old couple had married ; both of them 
had children; the man believed in educating his 

Three Years in Arkansaw 37 

children, and his second wife did not, and they each 
had a boy about the same age; but the old man 
started both boys to school ; his wife stood it for 
a while, but she protested, against her boy going 
to school, but the old man said: "My boy must 
go to school, and if I send my boy and keep yours 
at home to work the neighbors will talk about it 
and my boy must go ; and if your boy stays here, 
he must go to school." So he continued to go for 
a while longer, but his mother couldn't bear to 
see him going to school, so she gathered up his 
clothes and took him to his grandfather's to live, 
and his grandfather said they nearly ruined the 
boy at school. He said when his mother brought 
him back he was not the same boy at all . He was 
so different he said the poor bo}' had almost for- 
got how to kuss. After the election was over and 
the votes counted, it stood sixty-nine for school 
and sixty -five against, a majority of four for 
school, and they had a grand jubilee that night. 
You see, in Arkansaw they play the fiddle by ear, 
sing at random, swear by note and drink whiskey 
by the gallon ; so that night the winning side was 
playing the fiddle by ear ; singing at random and 
drinking whiskey by the gallon, and the defeated 
party was a-swearing by note, but it all died away 
in a few days, and there was no lives lost or 
bones broken. So the next winter they scrubbed 
out the old schoolhouse and fixed up the broken 
windows and had school tor three long months. 

Thev used to have church in the schoolhouse 
about every other Sunday; the Methodist would 
hold church every four weeks, and the Baptist ev- 
ery four weeks; the Methodist preacher's name 

^$ Three Years in Arkansaw 

was Blackside. He belonged to the Hot Springs 
conference, and was a good man ; he was a natural 
bom native, and never been scarcely out of Polk 
County, and of course there were lots of things he 
did not know, but he could read, and write and 
he was a good honest Christian, preached the very 
best he could and practiced what he preached. 
There are lots of good preachers m the world, but 
they don't practice what they preach. He was 
a good man and I liked him. He made some 
mistakes, but they were all through ignorance. 
One Sunday after his sermon he gave the old 
fashioned "back woods" Arkansawyers a good 
lecture about being so far behind the times; he 
said there was a new railroad building through 
their mxidst, and building up the country, and 
strangers coining in from different states, and 
settlm* round among us, we must read and post 
ourselves ; dress up ; and keep up with civilization 
and those who were coming among us. This new 
railroad grade is lined with new comers all the 
time, gomg up and down the country; There is 
the tramp, the hobo, and the chippy, I have 
met the tramp and the hobo, but I have not met 
the chippy yet, but I hope to later on. Some of 
the brethem explained his mistake to him that 
afternoon; he said he was very sorry and would 
apologize at his next appointment, but the 
brethern wouldn't let him; they were afraid he 
would make it worse. 

Father Croker the Baptist preacher was known 
all over the country as an honest upright practical 
Christian man; he was a school teacher, and knew 

Three Years in Arkansaw 39 

She country and the people for miles around. He 
always took the tobacco out of his mouth and 
threw it under the bench or out of the window 
when he got up to preach, but the congregation 
would chew their tobacco and listen to the old 
man while he would preach. There would be 
but few people in the house, but what would have 
tobacco in their mouth during church, and spit- 
ting on the floor; little girls not ten years old 
would have a snuff stick in their mouth during 
church. I have seen young ladies when they 
would go to spit they would put their fingers on 
each side of their mouth and they could hit a 
Tom cat's eye across a sixteen-foot room nearly 
every time. Every lady used tobacco and they 
thought it was all right, but the Baptist were 
very strict with the church rules, they turned one 
old preacher out for lying, they said they hated 
to, but they had to do it to preserve the reputa- 
tion of the church, he made a trip to Ft. Smith 
and when he came back he said he saw men there 
making ice a foot thick, they said the Lord 
couldn't make it over three inches thick in that 
country in the winter time, and the idea of a 
man making it a foot thick in summer was im- 
possible, so they turned him out for lying. 

There was an old gentleman that lived near 
Hatan Gap that they called Deafy Sm^'-'-h. One 
Saturday night Deafy's cow got out and nn off 
and Deafy started out on Sunday morning to 
hunt her. He met Brother Boanurges the Bap- 
tist preacher, and told him his troubles, well, said 
the preacher, you go right along with me to 

46 Three \ ears in Arkansaw 

church and when I get through preaching before 
I dismiss the congregation, I will describe the 
cow and see if anyone has seen her, all right says 
Deafy, that will save nie of walking all over the 
country to look for her. 

Deafy went to church took a seat in the back of 
the house and waited patiently until the sermon 
was over, but there was a weding in the neighbor- 
hood that afternoon and the preacher proceeded 
to announce the weding; but Deafy thought he 
was telling his troubles about the cow, and sat 
holding his hand behind his ear and catching a 
word once and a-casianly; the preacher advised 
the congregation to go, as the young man was 
a gentleman in every respect, but Deafy thought 
he was talking about the cow all the while, then 
he began to describe the young lady, but Deafy 
thought he was describing the cow, he said she 
was the finest young lady in all the land, was 
well educated, inteligent, good looking, kind- 
harted, industrious and a good cook, then he 
stoped and Deafy thinking he had bin describing 
the cow, he yelled out at the top of his voice and 
said, she is Bob -tailed and got one spoilt tit. 

There was but few doctars in Polk Count 3^ 
what there was, only had two falts, one w^as, 
they was hard to get and the other one they was 
no good when you got one. There was an old 
farmer taken bad sick all of a sudent, he was 
very bad, he had what they call Pendecitus, in 
the states but in Arkansaw they call it bellyake 
and he had it bad, there was no use to go seventy- 
five mdes for a doctar for he would either be dead 



42 Three Years in Arkansaiv 

or gon squirel hunting when they would get there, 
so they sent a mile after a horse doctar, he came 
and examined him and said if it was a horse 
rolling and groning that way he would giv him 
a quart of salts and what was good for a hors 
arter be good far a man, he told them to giv him 
a quart of salts at night and let him now in the 
morning how they act and he went home, the 
next morning one of the boys rode up to the 
doctars' and the doctar came out and said to 
the boy, how did the salts act, my, said the boy, 
they acted once before he died and twice after- 
wards, i 

In the hill of Polk County is a great place to 
raise sheep, they are very healthy and strong, 
they have to be so they can climb the mountains. 
I saw a native shearing sheep one day he would 
commence down on the hind legs and shear up 
its legs and along its body until he got to its 
head, I told him the way I sheared sheep I always 
commenced around its neck and sheared back, 
it was easier. Yes I know that, said the farmer, 
I use to shear them that way my self but, since 
I voted for Cleveland for President I can't look 
a sheep in the face so I always commence at the 
other end. The hills are so ruff they have to 
herd the sheep and on top of the rough hill they 
take them by the tail and hold them along the 
rough places while they eat the grass, when the 
herder goes out of a morning they will ball and 
run to him and turn round and back up they all 
want him to take them by the tail first and hold 
them out to pick. 

Three Years in Arkansaw 


Alfred Beabout is the most progressive man 
at Hatton Gap, he runs quite a double barrel 

business, consisting 
of a store and Post- 
office ; he had about 
a wheel-barrow load 
of dry goods, and a 
pillow-slip full of 
groceries consisting 
principally of tobac- 
co and snuff. Mr. 
Beabout was quite a 
progressive man for 
an Arkansawyer ; he 
originated the idea 
of a Post-office at 
that place, got up 
the petition and es- 
tablished the office, 
and of course he got 
it established in one 
corner of his store, 
and apinted himself 
Postmister. He got 
along very well with 
the office for a while, but one day while reading the 
Postal Guide he found that he would be required to 
report every three months, and that worried him. 
He said he had never written many letters and 
had never been a newspaper reporter and when 
it came to reporting to the President every three 
months it was more than he could stand, but as 
he had convinced the President that he was a 
business man and could run the office and had 


44 Three Years in Arkansaw 

got the President to apint him, he would do 
the very best he could, so one afternoon he drove 
the children all out of the store; got some paper 
and a pencil ; sat down to a goods box and pro- 
ceeded to report, and this is as nearly a correct 
copy of his report as I could get: 

Hatton Gap, Poke County, Arkansaw, 

June 17, 1886. 
Mister Grover Cleveland, 

President of the United States. 
Dear Grover: — 

I have just diskivvered thet as I am Post- 
Mister I have to report every three months. 
Craps look better in this vicinity this year than 
usual, I suppose it is on account of having a 

There is a law suit at Squire Paynes to-morrow ; 
Steve Gaithers bob-tailed cow jumped in John 
Brown's garden the other night and eat up his 
tunip greens, and John he sued Steve for main- 
tainance until rostenears is hard enough to eat. 

Tom Shortacres oxen run away the other day 
with the sled and Tom and Betsy both in it, they 
turned the sled over and Tom fell out on his face 
and run his pipe stem down his throat, and came 
very near choking him to diath, and Betsy fell 
out on a stump and skinned a place on her ankle 
four feet and two inches long. There has been 
one set of triplets, three pair of twins, and four- 
teen single births in this neighborhood this spring, 
which beats last yeaxs record, supposed to be the 
effects of havmg a post office. They had quite 
a revival of religion at the Bell school house 

Three Years in Arkansaw " 45 

lately, Francis Jackson got enough religion to 

last him through crap time, and m_ay be until 

com is hard enough to make moonshine whiskey. 

Si Watkins was in the kitchen taking his annual 


bath this spring and had a rear end collision with 
a red-hot stove and had to stand up and eat 
his meals more as two weeks. Jo Starkey is 
building a nev/ two roomed hewed log house with 

46 Three Years in Arkansaw 

a stone chimney at one end, and a stick chimney 
at the other, and a porch in front and a kitchen 
and a dog house in the back, and a hen roost 
attached at the north end, and the house is high 
enuff off the ground for the hogs and dogs to 
sleep under the floor. Health has been good 
this spring, except the children; the doctor said 
it was a disease ockasuned by over-gorging of the 
stumach, with sweet aples. 

Tom Bells old sow came in the house the other 
day, and his wife threw hot water on her to drive 
her out, and in her haste she ran over the table 
and broke all the dishes they had, except one 
goard, and it happened to be hanging on the 

Dick Weatherspoon was out hunting the other 
night, and when he cut a coon tree, a lim struck 
old Drum, the best coon dog he had, and broke 
his tail, nte by gum, short off.- My wife set nine 
hens this spring and they hatched out 127 chick- 
ens and she has raised all but seven that died 
with the gapes; the reason she had such good 
luck she kipt themx under the bed of nights and 
rainy days. 

There has been some family trouble here during 
the hot weather Elonzo Spooner, punched the 
chinking out of his house right in the comer 
behind the bed to let in the cool air during the 
night, and he wanted to sleep behind next to the 
crack, but his wife said she had been sleeping 
behind all winter and the crack principleges be- 
longed to her exclusively, so they had quite a 
family row, but I think hostilities will cease when 
cool weather comes and Elonzo chinks up the 

Three Years tn Arkansaw ^y 

We had a lot of fun and trouble in town the 
other day, you see Tom Shortacre, and myself 
are all the families that live in the heart of the 
town, and our wives both have large herds of 
chickens and they run together, that is the chick- 
ens ; and our wives also; his wife's name is Betsy, 
and my wife's name is Sally, now Betsy and Sally 
agreed that Sally should cut all of her hens tails 
off and Betsy let hers run with long tails so they 
could tell them apart, one of Betsy's, hens had 
stole her nest out, hid it by a stump and layed 
out her layin ; and gon to settin, and Betsy knew 
this and kept her eye on her hen; and Tom and 
I knew it. In order to have a little fun and 
excitement, Tom and I, sliped out and cut the 
old hens tail off just to see what the women would 
do ; next day Betsy came out to see how her hen, 
was gettin along and s?oW her tail had been cut 
off, now Betsy is a fast walker and a loud talker, 
so she came right down to my house and said, 
Sal you have been trying to steal one of my hens. 
Now Sal didn't stop to get her bonnet, but walked 
right over with her to the hen's nest ; when Betsy 
said there she is and you have cut her tail off 
to steel her ; but Sally said you are a liar. Each 
one reached for the others hair and both got a 
good holt and started round and round; Sally's 
foot struck the old hen and nocked her about a 
rod, and as Betsy came round she fell right into 
the nest and broke a lot of the eggs, and Sally 
right on top of her ; but before Tom and I couki 
get there Betsy had turned Sally and was wippmg 
up the remainder of the eggs with her, we pulled 
them apart and I taken Sally home and he took 

4^ Three Years m Arkansaw 

Betsy home, when they got home and put on 
clean dresses they washed the egg off their faces 
and hands; but they did'nt comb their hair for 
they didn't have none to comb, the next day^ 
Tom and I, told them hov/ it had all happened, 
and both of us has had to sleep on a palit ever 

I am getting along very wqW with the Post- 
Office except one thing, I charged one oppossum 
skin for reading and answering a letter, and there 
is a school marm down on Coon Creek that does 
it for nothing. I sent her word that if she didn't 
stop interfering with my business I would have 
her prosecuted if I had to do it myself. This is 
all of any importance for this quarter I will keep 
a diareah of what hapens so my next report will 
be more complete, l^.iy wife Sarah sends her 
respects to Mrs. Cleveland and the kids. 
Yours for truth and veracity, 

Alfred Beabout, 


First quarterly report of Post-Mister at Hat- 
ton Gap, Poke County, Arkansaw, 

The old man Doolittle run a blacksmith shop 
and that composed the business part of the town 
of Hatton Gap, except Thomas Shortacre and 
Betsey Shortacre, his wife., I shall not try to 
describe them as I don't understand the English 
language 'well enough to do them justice. They 
was about sixty years old and they never had 
any children ; neither of them knew their letters, 
both went barefooted and bareheaded ten months 
in the year. 

Tom dident hav any head at all, he only had 

Three Years in Arizayisaw 49 

a knot on top of his sholders to keep his back- 
bones from unraveling. He said he had not 
bought any matches for over three years, when 
he wanted to start a fire he turned up Betsy's 
heal and hit it a rip with his knife he could start 
fire evry time. Tom had a long spell of sickness 
they could not tell what ailed him, the Alipatha 
doctor said it set in for brain fever and had 
nothing to work on and he could not tell what 
it turned to the homapath said it was hay fever, 
for he would sneese everytime he would see a 
grass widow. The Ostopath said his spine was 
crooked. The horse doctor said he had the 
sweany and the bots. 

Betsy said it was pure unadulterated laziness 
Vs^ith a relaps, but he would not take any of their 
medicine, he said he was doing his own doctoring 
he had undertook the case himself and he would 
treat it threw if he lo£o it. 

I never new Tom to do but one days work in 
the winter tiine he went to mill one coald day 
and froze his fuet, Betsy put some warm water 
in a tub and he sat down on the side of the bed 
and let his feet hang down in the warm water. 
They felt so good he lay back on the bed and 
went to sleep and when he awoke the water had 
got coald and froze and Betsy had to take the 
hatchet and chop his feet out. 

Betsy wore a mother-hubbard and Thomas 
wore pants and a shirt. Neither would comb 
their hair. They would get feathers in their hair 
and let them stay there until the down would all 
wear off and nothing left but the quill. They 
both chewed tobacc- and both smoked and both 
could cuss by note; Tliomas couldn't talk without 

5o I'hree Years in Arkansam 

swearing, but Betsy could when she was in a good 
humor, but when she was not you heard her cuss 
a mile; Betsy was a hard worker, but Tom was 
too lazy to wink when he got dirt in his eyes. 
Betsy would turn loose on him once in a while 
and the language she used is unfit to write or to 
repeat. They lived in an old fashioned house 
two rooms built about sixteen feet apart, with a 
shed between them and a porch in front of the 
whole cheese. I rented the south room for a 
jtore and they lived in the north one. I ran the 
store for C. P. Landen & Company, of Horatio, 
and had a splendid trade. Our stock consisted 
of some dry goods and some groceries, tobacco 
and snuff, a few drugs and some hardware, but 
more tobacco and snuff than anything else. The 
women would come out en the mountains two 
and three miles barefooted over the rocks with 
eggs to trade for snuff. 

I had sold goods in several states and herd if 
a man was in Rome he must do as the Romers do, 
so I went barefooted too and in my shirt sleeves. 
I have sold goods all day, many a day, and not 
have my shoes on, barefooted and my pants 
rooled up Sometimes they would bring a wagon 
load of eggs and chickens, butter and blackberries, 
and the women could hardly ever count up w^hat 
they sold. One married woman had children 
nearly grown that I sold a bill of goods to, and 
they didn't know a nickle from half dollar. 

It was a good deal of trouble to trade with 
those people, especially the women. They would 
bring a wagon load of marketing women and 
children to town, and you would have to go out 

Three Years tn Arkansaw 51 

and take the babies out of the wagon, kiss them 
and tell their mothers how pretty they were, and 
perhaps their faces hadn't been washed for a 
week. That was hard on the stomach. Then 
you would have to help the mothers and big fat 
girls out of the wagon, and that was hard on the 
back. Then get out the eggs, chickens, feathers, 
blackberries, dried peaches and perhaps a sack 
of com in the shuck, weigh, count and calculate 
to find what it would come to, and then the trouble 
would begin. One of the children would want 
one thing and another something else. There 
would be the argument, and dispute and a quarrel 
to contend with, but when I could get a majority 
to argue on the same thing, I would put it down 
in the same pile and the amount on the bill and 
tell them how much was coming to them yet, 
when they would get through trading I w^ould 
give them a bill of what they brought and what 
they got, so if the old man or any of their neigh- 
bors could read and figure they could see that I 
had not cheated them. I told them I never 
cheated an idiot or an ignoramus; here is a copy 
of the bill I would give them: 

2 bu. dried peaches, 90c per bu .$1 80 

7 bu. corn in shuck, 40c per bu ..... = 2 . 8c 

5 lbs. of duck and chicken feathers, 30c lb . 1.50 

ij bu. of potatoes, 30c per bu 45 

2 doz. young chicken, 80c doz . . . . » i . 60 

17 doz. eggs, 8c per doz 1.36 

30 lbs. dried apples, 3c per lb 9© 

2 qts. coon oil, 20c qt 40 

3 rbs. butter, loc per lb - - -3^ 


52 Three Years in Arkansaw 

Then I would give them a bill of everything 
they had bought which was as follows: 

3 lbs. Horse Shoe tobacco, 35c a lb. .. .$1 .05 

3 lbs. Granger Twist, 30c a lb . . 90 

8 pkgs. Bull Durham, tobacco 40 

10 yds. shirting, 5c a yd 50 

20 yds. calico, 4c a yd ... = = . 80 

8 yds. unbleached muslin " .64 

1 barrel salt , 1.25 

25 lbs. flour 45 

3 lbs. sugar. . , .25 

10 lbs. coffee, 20c a lb 2 .00 

J-lb. pepper. , 20 

2 bottles Green & Co. Snuff 40 

2 papers pins, 3c each 06 

I spool No. 8 black thread to patch with, .05 

Which subtracted from the produce 
bought amounting to $11.11 

Take the amount purchased. . .36 

Then I would explain the whole transaction to 
the crowd as best I could and give the mother 
her change that was coming to her and say, now 
here is a quarter, that is 25 cts., and here is two 
nickles, that makes ten cents, which is 35c and 
here is a penny which is 36 cts., as the amount 
due you. Sometimes they would buy something 
else before they would leave and I would have 
to tell them which was the quarter, and which 
was the nickle. 

There was an Irishman got on the train at 
Hatton Gap, walked in the car but the seats 
were all taken ; one was occupied by an Arkan- 

Three Years in Arkansaw 53 

sawyer and his dog. The Irishman knew if he 
tried to make the dog get down and give him the 
seat he would have the Arkansawyer and the dog 
both to fight. He stood up for awhile, then he 
remarked : 

"That's a very fine darg ye have." 
" Yes stranger, he'es the finest darg in Polk Co." 
''And he has the marks of a good Coon dog." 
" You bet your life he can come as near finding 
coons where they ain't any as the next one." 
''And what Brade of dogs is he?" 
"He's a cross between an Irishman and a 

" Bejasus and he'es must be related to both of 

During blackberry time I bought lots of black- 
berries, and sold them to Betsy, and she made a 
barrel of blackberry wine. It was called Betsies 
shirt-tail wine, so called from the way she made 
it. She cooked and pounded and strained the 
juice out of them, and put sugar in it, boiled and 
soured, and I don't know what all she did do, 
and put *n it, but the way she gave it age, and 
the finishing touch, she took an old flannel under- 
shirt uf Thomases, or her's and sewed up the tail, 
and held the bosom open and poured the wine in 
at the collar and strained it out through the tail 
to take out the flies, and to give it age, and flavor, 
and that is the reason it was called Betsies shirt 
tail wine. Then she sold it for 50 cts. a quart, 
and it went like hot cakes, to those who did not 
see her make it. I saw her make it, so I did not 
taste it. It had the body to it for it made some 
gloriously drunk, and it made Betsy drunk when 

54 Three Years tn Arkansaw 

she was making it. The steam and the tasting 
it, together made the old lady get on a high lone- 

Betsy had an old humped-backed white cow, 
she called Jersey; and old Jersey was very bad 
to jump, and they had to keep a democrat on 
old Jersey all the time. Now a democrat is what 
some people call a yoke, it was made of a block 
of wood about i8 inches long with three holes 
in it. Two holes to put a bow" in that went over 
her neck, and one hole in the middle, with a stick 
about six feet long in it so when old Jersey run up 
to the f enc the stick would go through the crack 
and old Jersey couldn't jump it. Old Jersey had 
her Democrat on when Betsy was drunk, and she 
went out to milk her. She was so drunk on her 
shirt-tail wine that she didn't know which end of 
old Jersey the bag was on, so she got her by the 
democrat instead of the tit and tried to milk her. 
Tom, the old lazy scoimdrel stood there and 
laughed at her trying to get milk out of Jersey's 
democra.t, until Betsy got and cussed him 
until the atmosphere was blue for miles around. 
Tom had to take Betsy and put her to bed and 
the old cow didn't get milked imtil morning. 

When they commenced to grade the railroad' 
through Polk county, people of all classes came 
to town, and the population increased to about 
500. There was plenty of moonshine whiskey 
to be had in the town, and of nights the natives, 
and the Irish would gather in the town, and get 
drunk, and fuss and fight and keep an uproar 
nearly all night. They would kill a man occa- 
sionally. During one scrap there was two killed. 

56 TPiree Years in Arkansaw 

We organized a literary at the school house, 
and for a country affair it was a good one, the 
natives didn't take much part, but there was lots 
of people from the states that had dropped in 
along the new railroad, and some of the railroad 
men were speakers. We had some of the liveliest 
old country debates I ever saw or heerd. 

On one occasion we debated the old question 
of maried and single life I never saw such an 
excitement over a little thing in Arkansaw as 
there was over that debate they went hog wild 
and the ground was torn up and the fence broke 
down. Fortunately or unfortunately for me I was 
chosen on the side of single life, I will not attempt 
to give you all of my speech. I said Ladies and 
Gentleman as I have tryed both sides of hfe I 
ought to know from experience and observa- 
tion that there is more joy and hapiness in single 
life and the tears, sorrows and disappointments 
are shed, shared and endured by the married 
people I want to say rite here I am talking about 
what the world is and not what it ought to be, for 
if every man and every woman was filling the 
position in this world that God intended he or 
she should fill there would be more pleasure in 
maried life but they are not and we are talking 
about what the world is and not what it ought 
to be. 

There was a young man started to get maried 
he walked along by a large brick building under 
construction there was a brick fell on his head 
and killed him, ho never new the sorrow that 
brick saved him.. 

I have new lots of other young men there did 

Three Years in Arkansaw 57 

not any brick fall on their head but it would 
saved them lots of trouble if they had, it is as 
natural for people to mary as it is for a ducks back 
to turn water for they are built that way. 

Adam and Eve were maried in the garden of 
Eden and people has bin marying ever sinct:. 
Man was created first and woman was made after 
man and she has bin after him ever since some- 
times with the rolling pin and sometimes the 
flat iron. 

I know the Lord said it was not good for Adam 
to be alone but after he created Eve and she got 
herself and Poor old Adam both fired out of the 
garden of Eden. Solomon said it was better to 
dwell in the wilderness than with a contentious 
and an angry woman. 

The Lord created the Heavens and the earth 
the fowls of the air, the beasts of the field and 
the fish of the sea he worked right along every 
day but when he created Eve he was so tired 
he had to rest a hole day and by that time she 
had cut up so badly and got herself and poor 
old Adam in so much trouble she had let the devil 
beguile her and helped to get Adam beguiled so 
the Lord has never created anything else since 
but he turned his attention to getting up a plan 
of redemption for Poor beguiled man and woman. 

The Bible says Eve was made out of one of 
Adams ribs but I hav herd that disputed, they 
claim when the Lord had taken Adams rib out 
and laid it down to stop up the hole a dog got it and 
started to run away, the Lord run after the dog 
and caught him by the tail and the dog kept 
runing and growling and the Lord cut the dogs 

58 Three Years in Arkansaw 

tail off and made Eve out of the dogs tail and 
woman has bin growling ever since. I did not use 
to believe any part of that story but I hav come 
to the conclusion that if any part of it is true it 
was a little wooly first. 

I use to coon hunt when I was a boy we had a 
little fist that was allways barking up every tree 
he come to and that was the way with mother 
Eve the first thing she done when she was turned 
loos in the garden of Eden was to bark up the 
rong tree and get herself and poor old Adam 
into trouble. 

I sometimes think part of the women are ribs 
and part dogs tails and if a man get a rib its all 
right to marry but if he gets a dogs tail its all rong. 

All most any poor girl will make a man a good 
rib but the rich mens daughters are nearly all 
dogs tails from start to finish. I see by the papers 
that the millionairs of Chicago hav a private 
school to learn their daughters military tactics, 
wont they make a man a splendid wife when 
you may put 14 of them in a kitchen 14 hours 
and they can't make a decent cup of catnip tea 
for a baby. 

There is Sampson the strongest man that ever 
lived but when Delila got him under her controle 
first he lost his honor then his hair then he was 
taken prisnor had his eyes put out, then lost his 
life, I hav known lots of Sampsons in my life big 
strong fine looking men but in six months after 
they are maried they can't scarcely shoulder a 
half peck of wheet brand first they loose their 
hair their reputation and next their eyes punched 
out that is what they call enjoying maried life. 

Three Years in Arkansaw 59 

Adam was made out of clay or mud there is no 
dispute about that, and they hav bin making 
men out of mud ever since but they hav bin 
very earless about where they get the mud. 

I never did want to be a woman but sometimes 
I think I would like to be a drunkards wife gust 
one night when he would come home drunk and 
abuse me he would not come home drunk next 
night for two reasons one is he would not be able 
to get away next day and the other is I would 
not be there when he would come home drunk 
next time. I know the bible says something about 
puting your husbands away, but if I v/as a woman 
and a man came home drunk and abused me I 
would put him away in a safe place where the 
Lord would find him on the gudgment day. 

The bible says be ye not unequaly yoked togeth- 
er and the first time he got drunk I would be 
like an old steer I use to work I would turn the yok. 

A many a poor tiard woman has set up and 
doctared and woried over a sick baby untill 
twelve or one o'clock at night when her husband 
would come in and say he had bin to the lodge 
if I was a woman that wouldn't fix it. She was 
gust as tiard and the baby just as sick as if he 
had bin at a saloon and two to one he was, a lodg 
is all right for old bachelars and men that hav 
dogs tails for wives but a man that has a rib and 
children ought to be at home with them. 

There was once two bachelars lived on adjoin- 
ing farms both was very wealthy they had dis- 
cussed the mariage question Pro and con severel 
times finaly they agreed to cast lots and the one 
that lost was to get maried and the other wait 

do Three Years in Arkansaw 

and profit by his experience so it fell to Mr. Smiths 
lot to get maried first he was so fraid he would 
draw a blank he spent a great deal of time and 
money looking around but he finaly maried a 
city girl who was good looking well dressed and 
a fine plana player and good singer and educated 
right up to now. Smith was a wealthy farmer he 
soon discovered she could not cook at all so he 
had to hire a cook but she could play the plana 
and sing very fine but that would not satisfie 
Mr. Smiths appetite when he was tiard and hungry 
he next diskivered she couldn't nor wouldn't 
wash and iron her own clothes or his so he had 
to hire a wash woman. He bought a nice milk cow 
and brought her home and when he come in that 
night his wife was all broke up she said he must 
sell the cow for she was mean and good for nothing 
why what is the mater with the cow ? Everything 
said she ; I brought her in the yard and tied her 
close to the dore, sit the pail under her, went in 
the house and plaid a nice tune on the plana and 
went out and there was not a drop of milk in the 
pail, then I took her by the tail and tried to pump 
it out and she kicked me and the pail both over, 
you see she is no good any way for she has four 
tits and she giv sweet milk out of all of them and 
I wanted cream for my coffee and butter milk and 
claber cheese for my supper. You will hav to get 
three more cows or sell that one, well you don't 
under stand cows naw and the cow don't seem 
to understand me for I played as nice a piece as 
I could on the plana and it would not bring the 
milk well you see music is all right in its place but 
it want make a cow giv down her milk so he had 

Three Years in Arkansaw 6i 

to hire a milk maid. "^ Things went on very well 
for a while but in the corse of woman events one 
night the baby got to crying, and kept on crying 
until he suggested that she get up and do some- 
thing for the little thing she got up dressed in the 
latest style powdered her face and sat down to 
the plana and played a very fine solo when she 
got threw the baby was still crying the music 
was all right to tickle the old mans ear when he 
came courting but it was no good for the baby 
when it had the colic. He suggested that she 
make it some catnip tea she said she never made 
any tea in her life and she did not know catnip 
from dog fennel so they had to hire a nurse to 
take care of the baby and she could not make its 
clothes nor her own so they had to hire a seam- 
stress. The last time I herd of him he was so 
poor he could not hire a nurse, milkmaid or a 
seamstress, his wife was playing the piano the 
dirty faced baby seting in the floor a yelling and 
the old man out in the barn lot milking the old 
cow with one hand and a holding up his pants 
with the other and his brother bachelor he did not 
exactly get maried he gust bought him a mawk- 
ing bird it was less trouble and less expense and 
he had the music. I know men and women 
ought to liv happy together but they don't. Man 
was created [first and given dominion over the 
beasts of the field, the fowls of the air, and the 
fish of the sea then woman was created for a 
help meat for man but when the Lord put them 
in the garden and went away the devil came 
and beguiled her and got her to help him put the 
strings on Adam then he led them both rite out 

62 Three Years in Arkansaw 

of the garden down into trouble and sorrow and 
the Devil has bin doing the same thing ever 
since sometimes he beguiles the man and some- 
times he beguiles the woman first and when he 
gets on his side then hells to pay and no pich 

We sometimes reed about someone comiting 
suicide because they was disappointed in love 
but the reason there is so many drunken men 
and bad women in the world they was disap- 
pointed in marriage. I believe a true woman is the 
grandest thing God ever created, man ever saw, 
or the sun ever shined on but the only trouble 
is there scarcity did you ever think for a moment 
that Christ knows how to sympathise with us 
from experience in all of our troubles except 
those of a maried life he knows how to sympa- 
thise with the hungry for he fasted forty days 
and nights and was afterwards tempted of the 
devil. He knows how to sympathise with the Poor 
for he had to send Peter a fishing to get money 
to pay his poll tax, he knows how to sympathise 
with the tiard and weary for he walked nearly 
all over the rocky mountains of Guda, Galilee 
and Samara, he knows how to sympathise with 
the poor laboring man for he was spit upon, 
crowned with thorns and crusified by the Trusts 
who said his religion interfered with their business, 
but he don't loiow how to sympathise with a poor 
browbeat henpecked husband that has bin trying 
to liv with a content: ous and an angry woman. 

Hatton Gap is, or was, a great town for music 
Some of the greatest sin^rs there I ever saw. 
Those natives had a voice like a caliope. One 

Three Years in Arkansaw 63 

day I heered some of as fine singin as a man would 
care to hear. I told my wife to listen at the music. 
It was the same song that I heard at Kansas City 
when I was there at the exposition building at 
the Inter-state Fair of Masoury and Kansas. 
They worked about an hour to get a Piano upon 
the stage; and when they got it up, a man sat 
down and pounded on the piano while a middle 
aged lady stood up and yelled something you 
couldn't understand. Then she would scream 
at the top of her voice. Sometimes she would 
stop a spell and he would be biffing away at both 
ends of the machine, then she would yell again. 
I asked somebody what it meant, and they said 
it was up-to-date opery singing, so, when I heard 
the same piece sung at Hatton Gap years after, 
I knew it at the first yell. I went down to see 
if it was the same couple, but is was not. It 
was an old hound that had his head fast between 
two palins and a man had a club trying to knock 
the palins loose. He would biff, biff, away and 
the hound would yell at the top of his voice, thei? 
he would yell a little longer at times. I couldn't 
understand what he was saying any better than 
I could what the woman was saying but it was the 
same tune, and the words and the same accent 
only the hound's voice was a little more melan 

They had a fox chase one night when a native 
said to a new comer, **Don't you hear that 
Heavenly music?" "I can't hear nothing for 
those doggoned hounds," the new comer said, 
but the hounds made the noise that was music 
to the natives ears. 

64 Three Years in A^rkansaw 

After the railroad was complete, and the cars 
running a great many of the natives sold their 
farms along the line and left the country. The 
most of them went to Howard county, as there 
was no railroad in that county. One farmer told 
me \,nat he was going to sell out and leave. He 
said the cars run within three miles of his farm, 
and he didn't want to live within thirty miles of 
a railroad. One poor old farmer I felt sorry for; 
he had lived on his farm a good many years, and 
had raised a large family, mostly girls, and all at 
home, but the railroad only missed his house 
about 150 yards. He stood it pretty well until 
the track was completed, and the first freight 
train run through on the line, then he and the 
old woman and the barefooted girls gathered up 
what they could caiTy, and called the dogs, and 
left the old farm on the double quick-step. As 
they passed one of the neighbors, he tried to get 
them to go back, and live there, but the old man 
said no, that the cars would kill every one of them. 
When the farmer said ''the train that just went 
through didn't hurt any of you did it?" 

''No!" said the old man, "It went endways, 
if it had gone through sideways it w^ould have 
wiped us all off the earth." 

So he picked up his bundle and started out, 
yelling, " Come on gals," and whistled to the dogs. 
Some of them that lived away from the railroad 
would come to the stations on Sundays to see 
the cars, as they had never seen a train before. 
It would look like a camp meeting around the 
depot. They would come out of the mountains 
for twenty-five or fifty miles to see the cars. One 

Three Years in Arkansaw 65 

old man had hitched up old gray to the spring 
wagon, and. brought his wife and about seven or 
eight children, ranging from one to nine years 
old, to see the cars. He drove up close to the 
track so they could get a good view of the cars ; 
but before the train came, he got uneasy, he was 
afraid old gray would get scared, and run away, 
so he got out and unhitched old gray, and tied 
him to a tree give him a bunch of hay, and got 
back in the wagon. Pretty soon he saw the train 
coming pretty fast, and as the old wagon was too 
close to the track he thought the train would 
jump the track and kill them all, so he jumped 
out, and got between the shaves, and started to 
pull the wagon a little further down the hill. As 
the train got nearer the station, the old man got 
excited, and away he went down the hill, ran 
over a stump, turned the wagon over, threw the 
old woman and all the children out, and hurt them 
worse than old gray would, for he stood there 
eating, and didn't notice the train. The children 
was scared and hurt, and yelling to the top of 
their voices. The old woman kept hollering for 
him to stop, but she didn't have any strings on 
him, and she couldn't do a thing with him, but 
when she got up she got a club ; but her ankle was 
sprained, and she couldn't run to catch him, or 
I expect she would have beat him to death. She 
said she didn't mind getting hurt- but she didn't 
get to see the cars. She said she would leave 
the old man at home next Sunday, and she and 
the kids go alone. 

Hatton Gap is situated half w^ay between Ft. 
Smith and Texarkana, and about 100 miles west 

66 Three Years in Arkansaw 

of Hot Springs right in the heart of the mountains 
and wilderness. About loo miles from the rail- 
road before the Pittsburg and Gulf was built, a 
large bunch of the natives didn't know their 
letters, and never was in a railroad town, and 
never saw any of the modem improvements. 
One old mountaineer went to Texarkana and 
while there he saw a barber shop, the first he 
ever saw or heard tell of. He always had his 
wife cut his hair twice a year. Once in the fall 
she would ciit his hair, and in the spring she 
would shave him and cut his hair, but the way 
she would do it, in the fall she would use the 
scissors, and a half gallon milk crocks She would 
turn the crock over his head, and cut off all the 
hair that would stick out from under the crock, 
that way she would get an even cut all around 
from one ear to the other. In the spring she 
would give him a shave and a hair cut both, 
then she would use a pine torch, and a wet rag. 
She would bum it off with a torch, and whip it 
out around his eyes with a wet rag. When he 
saw the barber shop, and saw how they per- 
formed, he concluded he would fool the old woman 
and he would first get a shave, then he concluded 
they might cut his hair, he told them to clip it 
very short. He meant milk crock style, but the 
barber got his clippers, and clipped it short. The 
old man sat there with his eyes shut and didn't 
know how he was clipping it until he was done, 
and when he looked in the glass, and saw himself 
he was the maddest man ever seen in that 1 3wn. 
He wanted to fight the barber, and everybody 
else in town, so the police had to take charge of 
him, and made him go home. 



6^ Three Years In Arkansaw 

He had cooled off by the time he had driven 
a hundred miles, but when he got home, the 
trouble began. As soon as he got in the yard, 
his own dog bit him, but he kicked the dog loose, 
chased him under the floor, and went in the house. 
He had to tell his wife who he w^as, then he picked 
up the baby, but it didn't know him, and the 
more he would tiy to explain, the louder it would 
yell, so he had to put it down. Then he went 
out to milk old muly. She was afraid of him., 
and wouldn't stand; finally he got her cornered, 
and got her half milked, when she looked around 
and saw him, got scared and jumped and kicked 
him over, and kicked the milk, pail and all right 
on him. The milk run down his shirt collar, and 
the pail struck him on the head, and made a knot 
between the size of his head and a hulled walnut. 
He got up and shook himself, that is, he shook 
the milk off his clothes, and shook his fist at the 
cow ; said a few ugly words about the barber and 
the cow, and made some ugly wishes about the 
future destination of each, and went into the 
house carrying the empty pail, and his wife had 
to go out and finish the milking. 

The flies and mosquitoes would bite his head 
occasionally, but he stood it all very well until 
bedtime, when his wife fixed a pallet on the 
porch, and remarked, '' I beheve this is Jeremiah, 
but as I am not quite sure I have decided you 
can sleep out here for a few nights, until I am 
thoroughly convinced it is you." It broke the 
old man's heart; he was all broke up. He fell 
down on the pallet and cried nearly all night. 

Three Years in Arkansaw 69 

The next morning he got tip very early, and they 
supposed he had gone out to the barn to feed the 
horses, but as he didn't come in to breakfast, 
they went to hunt him and found him in the 
bam, he had hanged himself with a blind bridle ; 
they cut the bridle, and let him down, and rolled 
and rubbed him, and brought him too, but when 
he got all right he was mad as he could be because 
the}^ had brought him too, he said if you had let 
me alone I would a bin in heaven rite now; 3^es 
dad said one of the boys, but how would you a 
looked, walking the golden street with a blind 
bridle on. 

The town of Hatton Gap flourished like a green 
bay tree until the railroad was completed; then 
the railroad company wanted to buy the land, 
and lay out a town there; but the natives that 
owned the land said: **No, we own the land, and 
we will lay out the town, and sell the lots, and 
make the money ourselves." They offered the 
natives four times what the land was worth for 
farming purposes, but they said, "No, we will 
not sell. So the railroad company went two 
miles north and bought about 800 acres of Francis 
Cecil, and laid out the town of Jansen, sold the 
lots; built a depot, put in a water tank, and 
started a nice little town. They put up a hook 
at Hatton Gap, and took the mail on the fly, and 
give Hatton Gap the go-by, left the natives sitting 
around on old goods boxes whittling, and cussing 
the railroad company, while the town was like 
the seed that fell in stony ground, it soon withered 


Three Years in Arkansaw 

When the town of Jansen was started, I left Hat- 
ton Gap, and went to Jansen ; I built the first 
house in Jansen, and started a hotel. The first 
house was not the best in the world, nor the best 
^_^^___,_^___^____ in Arkansaw. They was 
boarded up and down, and we 
used heating stoves made of 
powder cans that we gathered 
up along the cuts where they 
had to blast the rocks. 

The town had a \'ery steady 
growth, everything consid- 
ered. There was four or five 
stores, two sawmills, postof- 
V\\/fQ>>lll|fl M Pxe, and some mining and 
I j A D| I ' prospecting aroimd the town. 
' Fo 'H ^^^ Qi-iite a number of mioonshine 
whiskey peddlers, besides the 
MOONSHmE WHISKEY fa^jn producc. Coons and 

PEDLAR OF JANSEN i • . j i. .1 

ARKANSAW opossum-skm trade, altogeth- 

er made quite a comical town, 
but not a commercial town, by any means. Some 
of the people of the town were from the north, some 
from the south, and some had vegetated and 
sprung up, and originated in the hills, and among 
^the rocks of the immicdiate neighborhood of the 
'tow^n, and it was hard to get any two to agree in 
any one thing, they all thought they knew straight 
up, but all thought it was a different direction. 
Each one knew exactly how to build a town, but 
all had different ideas about it. They could prove 
by the Bible it would make a good town, for it 
was built on a rock. 

I had a very good hotel trade ; I had about a half 

Three Years in Arkansaw 71 

a dozen section men, a lot of sawmill men, some 
carpenters, a few merchants, and some comers and 
goers. Lots of strangers w^ould come in, but they 
would go too soon. My boarders were all good 
fellows, as I wouldn't have any other kind. I 
boarded one native that run a drygoods and gro- 
cery store, he was one of the finest men I ever met, 
and sharp, but the traveling men always loved to 
get some gag on him. One day he told me that he 
had got even with a traveling man that had bin 
playing tricks on him. "How did you get even 
with him?" '*0h, he had his wife with him this 
trip, and when he gave me an introduction to her, 
I looked at her and then turned to him and said : 
"The lady you had with you before, that you in- 
troduced to me as your wife, was red-headed, and 
you ought to have seen her look at him. I bet 
she gives him thunder when she gets him to him- 
self. Did you tell her it was a joke? No, I went 
right on talking business to him, and never grinned, 
while she stood round there snapping her eyes like 
a toad eating fire." 

One trouble with the town, it was built out of 
doors, and not only that, but it was built right out 
in the woods, and the woods was full of hogs. 
You could sorter keep them aw^ay in day time, 
by rocking them and sicking the dogs on them. 
But at night they would almost tear the house 

My hotel was built on the hillside, of course, 
like nearly every other house in Arkansaw. It 
fronted east, and the north side was about level 
with the ground, and the south side was about two 
feet high. We had a kitchen window at the south 

72 Three Years in Arkansaw 

One day an old sow about six feet long, and as 
big around as a man's arm, came right under that 
window, with her head under the house, with her 
nose pointing north. I got about a gallon of boil- 
ing water right off the stove, and poured it on her 
south end, and you ought to have seen her start 
north. I guess she would have struck the north 
pole, if it had not been for some stovepipe under 
the house. She started in such a hurry that she 
did not look where she was going, and ran her nose 
right intoa joint of stovepipe, and her head and front 
legs went through all right, but her hind legs 
stuck, and held the pipe fast between her front 
and hind legs ; she came out from under the floor, 
and started for the woods. You ought to have 
seen that sow run. Well, I never saw a hog run 
so fast in all my life. Instead of the stovepipe 
being in her way it served as a corset, and held her 
tits up out of the way, and she was out of sight in 
the woods before you could say suey! We sup- 
posed the stove pipe would lose off, but the old 
farmer found her the next day. The pigs couldn't 
suck; he had to catch her with a pack of 
hounds, and cut the pipe off with a can opener. 

The Arkansawyers beat any people to marry 
that I ever saw. The girls are nearly all married 
by the time they are twenty, and the boys before 
they are twenty-one. All the boys wants to marry 
a girl that is cross-eyed and red-headed. They 
do that for economy. They cook on the fireplace 
there instead of a stove, and if a girl is crosseyed 
she can w^atch the pot with one eye, and look up 
the chimney with the other. The reason they 
want a red-headed woman is so the children will 

Three Years in Arkansaw 73 

be red-headed; then they can tie them up in a 
tree, and let the woodpeckers feed them while the 
wife hoes corn and cotton. Some of the girls are 
so crosseyed, when they cry the tears run down 
the back of their neck. 

I was Hving at Jansen during the month of July, 
and of course we had a Fourth of July celebratipn, 
and had it Arkansawyan style, pure and sim- 
r.le. That is about the only hohday they have m 
Arkansaw, and they all celebrate that day. They 
all go, take the wagon and two days' rations, old 
men, old women, big gales, babies, dogs and all, 
they go the day before, and camp on the ground 
the night before the Fourth and dance, and dnnk 
White Mule all night. Now, White Mule is new 
moonshine whiskey; so new that you can smell 
the boys' feet on it that plowed the corn that made 
it They dance in Arkansaw in one respect, the 
same as the Indians. That is, the old and young 
dance together. I never danced a set m my hfe, 
and don't know much about it. 

I heard dancers talking about a change in danc- 
ing, but I never knew what they meant until^ I 
saw them dance in Arkansaw. Brother Jones will 
liold the baby while his wife dances a set with Mr. 
Brown, and Mrs. Brown holds her baby while Mr. 
Brown' dances with Sister Jones. When they get 
tired they have a change— that is, Mrs. Jones holds 
her baby, and Mr. Brown takes theirs, and they 
sit down in a corner on a bench or a pumpkin, 
and hold the babies, and talk, laugh, and take a 
fresh chew of tobacco while Mrs. Brown and Mr. 
Jones get up and dance a set or two together. 
That is what they call a double change. They 

74 Three Years in Arkansaw 

change wives and change the babies, back and 
forth, while each other dances. Single girls dance 
with married men, and married women dance 
with single men. That is what they call the 
third change. Everything generally goes off all 
right unless they get too drunk. When one gets 
so drunk he can't stand up, they drag him out 
somewhere out of the way, and go right on with 
the dance. I saw one man fall right down full 
length, in the middle of a set. Three jumped 
right in, and two grabbed hold of him, and drug 
him out, the other man grabbed the girl by the 
arm, and went right on with the dance, and never 
stopped the set or the music. What they call a 
good dancer is the one that can kick the floor the 

The men in Arkansaw generally dance in their 
shirt sleeves, with their pants in their boots. The 
girls have on heavy shoes and callico dresses, and 
never wear a corset unless it is one that they have 
made themselves out of hickory bark. In the 
States, when a young man dances a set with a 
young lady he treats her to a glass of lemonade or 
ice cream, but in Arkansaw^ he gives his girl a 
chew of tobacco, and takes one himself, then they 
sit down, chew, spit, and rest, all at the same 
time. A girl will dance with the raggedest, hom- 
liest young man on the ground if he has a plug of 
store tobacco in his pocket. 

They usually have very fine music at the dances, 
they have an old fiddle strung up with wire strings, 
and" two play on it. One plays with the bow, and 
the other plays with two sticks about the size of a 
small lead pencil, and about eight inches long. 

Three Years in Arkansaw 


One beats time on the strings, while the other 
plays with the bow. There is but very few tunes 
they can play, but if a man can play one tvme that 
is good for an all night's dance. He will just play 
the same tune over and over and over. There is 
one tune I think every fiddler in Arkansaw can 
play. It has a great many names, but is com- 
mon, called: *'A Dog in a Difficulty," or 'The 
Unfortunate Pup. ' ' 

There was a stranger from Texas started to play 
for a set one night at a country dance, and he v\^as 
going to call the set for them; he was a fine fid- 
dler; he commenced a tune, and commenced to 
call in the Texas style ; he yelled out swing your 
partners, and about half of them 
started; then he said, all prom- 
enade, then they all stopped and 
stood there, and looked at one an- 
other, and at him all at once a 
big girl stepped to the door, and 
said, *'Dick come in here, and call 
this set for us." In walked a big 
barefooted long-haired ragged 16- 
year old boy, and backed up in 
the comer and said: **Air you 
all ready"; the girl said *'Yes," 
and then she said: ''Now, stran- 
ger play us the old tune." He 
started out pretty lively, when 
the boy, with a voice like a steam- 
boat whistle said, come and go — 
Bring and fetch — ring and twist 
— take your partner by the craw, and swing 
her all round old Arkansaw, By that tim^ 



Three Years tn Arkansaw 

they were going around so fast you could 
hardly tell the boys and girls apart, and I got so 

dizzy headed, and sea- 
sick, I had to go out for 
fresh air. 

I stopped in out of 
the rain one day at a 
typical Arkansawyer's 
home. The old man 
was sitting in the cor- 
ner sawing away on an 
old fiddle, his wife was 
trying to start a fire 
with some wet wood, 
while the barefooted, 
halt-naked children 
were shivering with 
cold, but the old man 
didn't appear to pay 
any attention to me, 
his wife or the freezing 
children, but kept saw- 
ing away on the old 
fiddle. Finally he said 
to me, "I am laming 
to play a nev\^ tune 
called ' ' Hell among the 
yearlings." I thought 
it would be more ap- 
propriate if he would 
call it "Hell in Arkan- 

The women are very 
NEVER SAW LiGHTBREAD Strong, and tough as 

Three Years in Arkansaw 77 

boiled owl.^ They can go to a dance and dance 
half the night, and sit on a pumpkin and hold 
the baby the other half, and hoe cotton all the 
next day, but the men are better to their wives 
in Arkansaw than any other state. They have 
been known to go with them out in the hot sun, 
and help them hoe cotton all day long. 

There was a man that lived near Jansen, and 
came to my house one day, and said he wanted 
to buy a loaf of light bread to take home and show 
his wife. He had a wife and three or four child- 
ren, and he said his wife had never seen any of 
that kind of bread. I sold him a loaf, and he 
went his way rej oicing. But in a few days he came 
back, and said they were going to his father-in- 
law's the next day, which was Sunday, and he said 
he wanted another loaf to show to his wife's 
mother, as she had never seen any bread like 

One young man, a native of Arkansaw, said the 
people had more good things to eat and lived bet- 
ter than any other state, he said, "My father was 
the best liver in the state, he had more good 
things to eat than anybody I ever saw. My! he 
said, there was hardly ever a Christmas passed 
that we did not have biscuits." 

A wedding is a very small thing in Arkansaw, 
except the dance which generally lasts all night. 
They generally invite all the neighbors for a few 
miles around, and the preacher or the Justice of 
the Peace comes and ties the knot, and they do 
the rest. There was a country wedding near Jan- 
sen while I was there. The neighbors gathered in, 


Three Years in Arkansaw 

and the women was all in the house, the girl had 
washed with boughten soap, and put on her new 
dress, and combed her hair, and they were all sit- 
ting around and picking wool, and the men were 
all out in the edge of the woods, and had a log- 
heap built up, and was all standing around telling 
yarns. When the preacher and the young man 
to be slaughtered arrived on the scene. They 



went right in, of course. The men all followed 
them, and the little log was jam full of sight 
seers. When they went in, the young lady, the 
bride, had a big hunk of wool, picking away as un- 
concerned as any of them. The preacher made 
them stand up right in front of the fireplace, with 
their backs to the fire, and face the crowd, while 
he proceeded with the ceremony But the bride 

Three Years in Arkansaw 79 

did not lay down her wool she kept on picking 
while he was swearing in the young man, but 
when he asked her if she would care for him in 
sickness and cook for him in health, and be his 
wife the remainder of her life, she stopped picking 
wool, studied for a minute; took the sntiif stick 
out of her mouth; turned around, spit a stream 
of tobacco juice into the fire, and said, "I reck- 
on." Then he pronounced them man and wife, 
and started home. Inside of fifteen minutes they 
had kicked the dogs out doors, rolled the pump- 
kins under the bed, set the chairs around the w^all, 
tuned up the fiddle, mated out two sets, and was 
dancing. You could have heard them a mile. 
They didn't stop for supper, when one would get 
hungry they would run out in the shed kitchen and 
eat a roasted sweet potato, wash it down with a 
cup of branch water, take a fresh chew of tobacco 
and go on with the dance. 

The natives used to bring lots of marketing to 
the stores, and after the railroad was completed 
there was lots of sawmills around the towns, and 
the natives would peddle their eggs and turnip 
greens around the sawmill camps. The mill firms 
had checks they would pay their hands with, that 
were good at their commissaries for the face amount 
in goods, so the mill hands would trade their checks 
to the natives for vegetables. There was one 
young man came in to Jansen, and traded his 
greens to the sawmill hands for checks, and went 
home with them, and didn't get any goods that 
day. When he got home he gave the checks and one 
silver c^ollar to his father, who inspected them to 

:^o Three Years in ArkansaW 

see whether they were good or not. He found one 
was on Mathews & Graham. "Well," said he, 
"That check is all right, I know Mr. Graham. 
He is good. "Here is one on Bess & Teasdale, I 
know them, the}^ are all right, but here is one I 
don't know anything about, it says on one side 
United States of America, One — dollar, and on 
the other, I don't know what that is, it says, "E 
Pluribus Unum, In God we trust." I never 
heard of that trust before nor I never herd of 
the E. Pluribus unum, milling firm. Son, I am 
really ashamed of you to fool you mother's greens 
away for the likes of this." "Father, they said 
that was one dollar good to buy anything with, 
anywhere here or at Hot Springs, or Little Rock." 
"Well, they may be acquainted with these people 
but I be blamed if I ever herd of um afore, now 
sons, next time you go to town you take this E. 
Pluribus Unum check to Jacob Lutes, and tell him 
to send your mother that amount in snuff and jest 
bring whatever he gives you and don't ax any 
questions, for he man't suspect it was no good and 
not take it, and your poor old mother would be 
outen her greens." 

The town grew for a while all right, but for some 
unknown cause the railroad got turned against the 
place, and concluded to kill it, and they sent a 
little slim redheaded 22 short real estate man by 
the name of Mickey down there for townsite 

He would go round with a paper collar on that 
he would have to get up on a stump to spit out, he 
was fresh from Kansas City. He went in partners 

Three Years in Arkansaw 8i 

with Bowser, the worst old Mossback in Ark- 

His head looked like a seed wart, and his ears 
w^asn't mates, and his pants patched with three or 
four kinds of cloth. His hat was not patched, 
but needed it awful bad. They put me in the mind 
of a team I broke prairie with in Western Nebraska 
in the seventies. One was an old bull, and the 
other was a little sorrel pony. We had to turn 
the harness upside down to make them fit the bull, 
and occasionally the pony would have his tail over 
the lines, a-kicking and a-pulling back, and that 
was the way with the Mickey & Bowser real estate 
firm; if a dude from, the city would come along, 
Mickey would try to sell him property ; but Bowsei 
didn't want that kind of settlers in the town or 
country, so he would dishearten the fellow, and 
get him to leave, and if a native from Southern 
Massoury or eastern Arkansaw would come along, 
Bowser would try hard to sell him a town lot or a 
farm, but Mickey would have his tail over the fine 
and kicking and pulling back and tell the fellow 
they was selling lots of lots and land to such fel- 
lows as himself from Kansas, and that would 
spoil Bowser's sale. And the consequences were 
that nobody came, and what was there left, and 
now it is only an egg and snuff station. That is, 
the natives sell eggs and buy snuff in the town. 
I have seen lots of towns built out of doors, but 
Jan sen was the first one I ever saw built in a hog 
pen. Francis Cecil had about fourteen old sows 
and about four hundred pigs and shoats. We 
could scold and dog them off in daytime, but at 

S2 Three Years in Arkansaw 

night the}^ would eat up everything outside, and 
almost turn the house over trying to get in the 
cupboards. They would root the houses off the 
foundations, and we would have to go around in 
the morning and put them back. And the town 
of a morning would look like we had a Kansas 
Cylcone every night. 

I finally got tired of living there, and we put out 
the fire, and called the dogs, and moved to Mena, 
Polk Co. I don't know why they named the town 
Mena, for the people there were no meaner than 
the people in the rest of the towns in that part of 
the hills. The railroad had their roundhouse 
there, and it was the only passenger division be- 
tween Port Arthur and Kansas City on the P. G. 

Mena was about one year old w^hen I went there, 
and had a population of about three thousand 
people. They v/ere v/onderfully mixed. Some 
from the North, some from the South, some rail- 
road men and some natives, but they all seemed 
to get along very well together. They all had one 
object in view and that was to get the Almighty 
Dollar, and they were very few and almighty hard 
to get. Everything ran very smoothly until the 
city election came up. There were tw^o political 
parties — the natives and the new comers. But 
as a man had to be in the State six months before 
he could vote, it disfranchised lots of the new com- 
ers, and the natives elected an old moonshiner of 
thirty years' reputation for mayor ; he looked like 
a cross between a gate post and the running gears 
of a goose nest ; and he also acted as Police Judge, 

Three Years in Arkansaw 83 

but he made a very good judge when he was tem- 
pered just right. He had hved in that immediate 
neighborhood for thirty years 
and made his own w^hiskey 
and some for the neighbors, 
who would pay him for it. 
•So it took just about a quart 
of a morning to steady his 
nerves so he could hold 
court; but if he drank too 
much he was no good, and if 
he didn't get enough he 
would go to sleep during the 
trial. One day he was try- 
ing a lady for some minor of- 
POLiCEGUDGEOPMENAfense, and during the prog- 
ARKANSAW rcss of the trial, he sat there 

smoking an old pipe, the old lady told him he was 
no gentleman for smoking in the presence of ladies 
during the trial, and he fined her One Dollar for 
contempt of Court. He had about a quart too 
much in him that day. On another occasion, he 
was hearing a case, or trying to, when the whiskey 
died in him and he went to sleep during the trial. 
The lawyers w^ould wake him up, and proceed with 
their arguments, but he would soon be sound 
asleep again. They didn't know what to do. 
They didn't want to send for more whiskey and 
tank him up, for nothing less than a quart would 
put him in shape, so the lawyers agreed to adjourn 
court, by mutual consent until the Judge got his 
nap out and got his nerves steadied so he could hear 
the case. 

84 Three Years in Arkansaw 

On one occasion an officer brought in a tramp, 
a full-blooded Paddy, right from the pot gang, 
known in civilized countries as hobos. The judge 
looked at him a minute and said: "Sir, you are 
charged with vagrancy. What have you to say to 
the charge?" 

''Well," said he, "I'll jest tell you how it was, 
Guy ; it was j est like dis . I hiked twenty stretches 
yesterday, and of course I was a little weary. I 
was going down to de glim shop to take a flop 
when I run against de bull and got pinched, and 
he trode me in de soup house cas he thought I had 
me slops on, See?" 

"What did you say?" said the Judge. 

"You see," said the hobo, "I hiked twenty 
stretches, was a little weary, and was going down 
to de glim shop to flop; well when I was hiken 
up de main stem I spoted a guy with a bum 
lamp and a fiat wheel and a sop in his mit, he 
was the collar and he run me in cause he thought 
I had me slops on, but I am no booze fighter, 
Judge you can tell by my dukes I am a swell 
grafter see." 

" Say young man," said the judge. " You must 
talk United States, or get an interpreter, I can't 
understand that lingo you Honor," said the Po- 
liceman (who had been on the police force long 
enough to understand hobo language) . When this 
dusty Knight of the road tells you he has hiked 
twenty stretches, he means he walked twenty 
miles, and being a bit weary he says, he was 
going to the glim shop to flop, meaning that he 
was going to the electric light plant to flop down 
and sleep ; when he says he was hiken up the main 

Three Years in Arkansaw 85 

stem, he means he was walking up main street; 
he also states that he run against de bull and got 
pinched meaning that he met an officer who 
arrested him, he says I had a bum lamp and a 
flat wheel, and a sop in my mit, meaning that 
I had my eye tied up was limping on one leg and 
had a club in my hand ; he says you's can tell by 
his dikes that he is a hard grafter meaning that 
you can tell by his hands that he is a hard working 
man, but your honor can tell better by his talk 
that he is a real Johny Yagden, and never worked 
a day in his life and I ask your honor to give him 
ten days on the rock pile. 

"Ten days" said his honor, and the court 
adjourned, p 

The old Judge summoned me one day on a 
Jury. He got a dozen of us down to his office 
and told us he wanted us to hold an inquest over 
a dead nigger. Now, we didn't like the job 
very well but he didn't consult our wishes but 
swore us in and told us where we would find the 
remains. We went over there and found them. 
It was a large fleshy black woman that would 
have weighed about two hundred and seventy 
five pounds. She was lying on the bed all 
covered up, except her face. She looked natural 
and as though she was asleep. Some of us went 
into the house, and some only looked in at the 
door. The question arose whether she was dead 
or not. We were all afraid to touch her for if 
she had moved we would have gone out the door 
like sheep over a fence. Finally, I suggested 
that we get a young chicken and fry it nicely and 
hold it up before her and if she didn't reach for 


Three Years in Arkansaw 

it, she was dead. I knew that much about a 
nigger. She didn't reach for it, so we pronounced 
her dead, but the question was how did she come 
to her death. She lived alone and she was dead 
when her friends found her. There might have 
been a dozen bullet holes through her, but we 
didn't want to uncover her to see, so we decided 
she died with heart failure. That is, her heart 
failed to beat, but we never knew why it stopped 
beating. There were very few niggers in tha-( 
part of Arkansaw and what few there were oc- 
casionally found themselves dead of a morning, 
but they were like all other niggers. When they 
won't reach for a piece of fried chicken you can 
prepare for a funeral. 

I ran a hotel at Mena 
about nine months. I 
called it the Midland, be- 
cause it was about half 
way between Civilization 
in Texas and Missouri. I 
had a large number of 
boarders. I had three Sec- 
tion Crews of the Railroad. 
One ran North, one South, 
and the Yard Crew, be- 
sides some of the Round 
House boys, some mer- 
chants, some carpenters 
and loafers and there 
were lots of Northern people who came to look at 
the cheap land. I got them, but they didn't stay 


Three Years in Arkansaw 87 

I had two natives to patronize my hotel. One was 
a farmer, who came to the back door and asked me 
if I would sell him a lunch for his hound. He had 
a hound pup about half grown, for which he had 
neglected to bring along anything to eat. He 
could do without until he got home, but not his 
hound. I fixed up a ten-cent lunch, and gave it to 
him. He took it and went away, but I think they 
divided it after they got out of town, and they both 
ate together. The other native that patronized 
me was an old man and his wife. Their home was 
about forty miles east of town, near Mount Ida, 
che county seat of ]\Iontgomery County. They 
happened in town aboat dark and had to stay all 
night. I told them my rates w^ere $1.00 a day, 
2 5c a meal, and 2 5c for a bed. They didn't know 
what to do. Thev said they were very old, had 
raised a large fam'ily, and their children were all 
married and gone from home and they had never 
eaten a meal or slept at a hotel in their lives. I 
persuaded and finally got them in and took them 
upstairs to a good room, and went down and left 
them. But pretty soon they came down in the of- 
fice with their baggage, and wanted to know if I 
had a room down stairs that I could give them. I 
told them there was not. "Well," said the old 
man, 'This is a free country and I would rather 
sleepout imder atree than that high off the ground, 
and if you can't give us a room down here, we will 
go out and sleep under a tree." I tried to reason 
with him. It was only a two-story house, but his 
wife said, "No, we can't sleep that high off the 
ground." She said, "My! Suppose one of us 
should get up in the night and fall down them 


Three Years in Arkansaw 

stairs. It would kill us as old as we are." I had 
to go to a second-hand store and get a bed spring 
and mattress and fix a bed downstairs for them, 
but the next morning when I told him that his 
bill was $1.50, he almost fainted. T tried to ex- 
plain to them that 25c a meal and 25c for a bed 
was 75c each, and total of $1.50, but he couldn't 
understand it that way. He said if he had known 
it would have cost more than a half dollar they 
would have gotten a lunch and slept under a tree. 

Mena is ninety miles 
west of Hot Springs, and 
as I had never been to 
Hot Springs, I thought a 
trip overland in a carriage 
would be very nice. I found 
a man by the name of Pete 
Cook, w*ho had a little busi- 
ness over at Hot Springs, 
so he furnished the team and 
rig, and I furnished him a 

K^ ^ Vlfllf M small amount of money and 
Y/ILrf' we started early in the morn- 
— o \ ^^g^ Now, Pete was a very 

nice fellow. He was native 
born and raised — but he had 
been around a great deal for 
a native ; had actually been clear out of the state 
one or two times and he knew a great deal 
more than the average Arkansawyer, and he 
knew a great deal more when he got home 
than he did when he started, and some of 
it he learned without my telling him. We 
got along very well the first half day. The 


Three Years in Arkansaw 89 

roads were rough and rocky. We passed through 
a little country town, called Board Camp, and one 
called Black Springs, went over mountains, crossed 
little rocky creeks, some of them twenty times or 
more, but we camped for dinner at a big spring on 
Butcher Knife Creek. It was a fine little stream 
running into the Wachita River, and where we 
camped were some very fine springs and an old 
farm house that had been built for many years. 
We ate our dinner, fed the team, walked around a 
little, talked to the natives some and hitched up 
and drove on, for we had no time to lose. It was 
a hard two days' drive, and we wanted to get to a 
certain farm house to stay all night. 

I had heard about the Arkansaw traveler all my 
life, and the place where the old Baptist preacher 
rode up, and the old man and woman and a lot of 
big girls came to the door when he said that he was 
looking for the lost sheep of the House of Israel, 
and one of the big girls hunched the old man in the 
ribs with her elbow and said : "Paw, I bet that is 
the old ram that was here yesterday." Well, I 
had only heard of them, but Pete knew where the 
family lived, and as he was a native he could per- 
suade them to let us stay all night with them. So 
we ponded the horses on the kidneys up hill and 
down, for there was but little level road. The top 
of some of the hills was so sharp when the fore 
wheels would be going down hill, the hind wheels 
would be coming up the other side, and the coup- 
ling pole would nearly drag the point ofi" the hill. 
We passed Wildcat Bottom that evening. The 
reason they call it Wildcat Bottom is because an 
old settler saw a big wildcat fight there one day,; 

go Three Years in Arkansaw 

when he was sitting on the fence hoeing corn, for 
that is the way they hoe corn in Arkansaw\ They 
sit on the fence most of the time. But he was sit- 
ting on the fence when he saw the two old Thomas 
wild cats come together. They came up on their 
hind feet, and when they got together each one 
commenced to climb the other, and in fifteen min- 
utes they were out of sight in the air, but he 
could hear them squalling two hours after they 
were out of sight, and the blood and hair fell for 
two days. 

So we hurried to get out of Wild Cat Bottom be- 
fore night, as we were a little afraid of the Cats, 
but we got along all right and long before Sun- 
down we reached the old farmhouse so long talked 
and sung about. As we got in a little early, they 
were just finishing their work. The old woman — 
and she is getting very old now — had been picking 
geese, and you couldn't tell w^hich grew on her 
head, hair or feathers, as it contained an equal 
amount of each. She had her sleeves rolled up un- 
til you could see the hair under her arms. Her 
dress came just a little below her kneecaps, and 
was a Mother Hubbard, with a puckering string 
around the waist, and made of Flour sacks of dif- 
ferent brands of flour, and she hadn't washed the 
letters out. So a man would notice the letters 
about as quick as he would the woman. There 
were large letters behind, that said, "Early Ri- 
ser." In front, it said, 'Tillsbury's Best." One 
of the big girls was with the old lady. She did not 
have on enough clothes to pad a crutch or wad a 
gun. She had on a calico dress, and that was all. 
She was barefoot, and bareheaded, and the holler 

Three Years in Arkansaw 91 

of her foot would kill a pis-ant. The old man 
came out to see who had come. He had a very 
quick step, like he wasn't so very old, but his head 
looked like it had w^orn out two or three bodies. 
The hair was off in spots, like an old dog in the 
Summer time, caused by eating coald beef in 
coald weather; he said the tallow got hard and 
stuck to the top of his mouth, and they built a fire 
on top of his head to mealt it out, and it burnt his 
hair off, and it never grew back, only in spots. 

He was dressed very well, considering every- 
thing. He had on a coon skin cap, striped shirt, 
high-water pants. His pants were not very 
ragged. They had been, but his wife had half 
soled them with a tobacco sign that the pedler 
had nailed on a tree. She had sewn it on to the 
gable end of his pants with a waxed end, and there 
was the big letters that said ''Granger Twist." I 
let Pete do the talking, as he was a native. He 
said they had made quite a change in the place 
since he and his father used to stop with them, and 
he almost claimed relation to them, so they in- 
vited us to stay all night before we asked them. 
So we got out. I took the empty grub box into 
the house, while Pete and the old man proceeded 
to put away the ponies. I went in the house and 
took a seat near the door, so I could watch the 
performance out doors and in the house. The old 
lady was quite an interesting talker. She was 
tongue-tied; her tongue was tied in the middle, 
and both ends shaking like a fidler's elbow. She 
told me all about the neighbors and neighbors' 
children, and how they had lived before the war 
and since, but when I asked her the distance to 

92 Three Years in Arkansaw 

different towns she said I would have to ask her 
son, Dick. She said Dick knew^ everything, for 
he had traveled everywhere, and knew it all. I 
asked her what countrys he had traveled in, 
and she said all of them, he has been every- 
where. I asked her if he was a sailor. ''No," 
she said, "he had traveled two years with a thresh- 
ing machine." But I didn't care anything about 
her Dick's traveling. What I wanted was sup- 
per, and as there were lots of chickens in the yard 
I remarked that they must get lots of eggs. **Yes," 
she said, "but we never eat any of them, we always 
set, or sell them." That sort of stunned me. 
For I thought we would have eggs for supper and 
breakfast, but I talked right on, and finally I re- 
marked: "You have some very nice frying 
chickens." "Yes, for we haven't sold any yet 
this summer." "Don't you ever eat any?" I re- 
^ marked. "No," she said, "we 

w^4^ never eat any young chickens. 

We always sell the fryers and 
keep the pullets. All the chick- 
ens we eat are roosters, and 
then not until he gets so old he 
can't catch a hen." 

About that time Pete came 
in and sat down by n)e, and 
READY TO BE^'kiLLED Said '. * ' What do you think about 
staying all night?" "Well," I said, "it depends 
upon where the drop falls." "What do you 
mean?" says Pete. "Well," said I, "do you see, 
the old woman in there mixing up the bread?" 
"Yes," says Pete. "Do you see that snuff stick 
sticking out of her mouth?" "Yes." "Do you 

Three Years in Arkansaw 93 

see that drop of tobacco juice and hairs hanging 
on the end of the snuff stick?" "Yes." "Well, I 
am watching that, and if it falls in the bread I am 
not going to stay." We sat there and watched, 
and pretty soon it fell on the outside of the pan. 
"Well," said I, "we are safe on first! We'll 

Pete went out to the bam to talk to the old 
man and help attend to the horses, but I stayed in 
the house to watch the cooking. I noticed the old 
lady fix. the churn as though she was going to 
chum, then she went out doors and pretty soon 
she came in with a big bull frog in her apron and 
threw him in the churn and covered him up, and 
went about her work getting supper. She was a 
good talker, but like myself, had but little educa- 
tion, and sometimes she would get the right words 
in the wrong place and sometimes the wrong words 
in the right place ; but like a nigger, she wanted to 
use big words. I asked her if there was many doc- 
tors in the country. She said they was few and 
far between. I asked her which she liked the 
best, the Ostapath, Homopath or Alipath. She 
said she did not know anything about the Oxpath, 
but she thought the Homopath was all right for 
the infantry, but she would prefer an Alipath in 
the case of adultery. 

She put on her cornbread and meat, and put 
some sweet potatoes in the ashes to roast, and 
pretty soon I thought I heard someone singing a 
long ways off. I couldn't imagine where it was, 
but pretty soon she uncovered the chum, and 
there was the old frog. He had to kick to keep on 
top of the cream to keep from drowning, and he 


Three Years in Arkansaiv 


Three Years in Arkansaw 95 

had kicked until he had churned the cream into a 
big ball of butter, and was sitting on the btitter, 
floating around singing, ''We're on the ocean sail- 
ing." The old woman then took him by the back 
and put him out doors, and took the butter up on 
a plate and sat down and commenced talking to 
me and all the time she kept running her finger 
through the butter, back and forth, and every 
little while she would pick some hairs off her fin- 
ger and throw them in the fire. She saw I was 
watching her, so she asked me if my wife strained 
her milk or haired her butter. I said she strained 
her milk. She said she used to, but it was too 
much trouble, so she just haired her butter. 
Now, I had made up my mind that I didn't want 
any of the hair or butter. I noticed every time 
she had to reach up for anything she would stand 
on her heel instead of her toes, she could reach 
higher. She had a foot like a gaybird— the long- 
est toe behind. 

Supper was about done, so she began to prepare 
the table, or the stump—for the house was a log 
house, built aroimd a big stump, and they use the 
stump for a table, so she began to prepare the 
stump. She didn't have any stump cloth or table 
cloth^ so she used one of the old man's shirts, 
and one of hers, and spread them over the stumip, 
with the sleeves and necks hanging down each 
way, and the tails laid across the middle of the 
stump. She didn't have many dishes, and they 
were mighty old and badly niched up. She 
only had six case-knives and they all had names, 
so she would know them, and if one was lost she 
would know which one it was. Their names were 

96 Three Years in Arkansaw 

Big Butch, Little Butch, Old Case, Cob Handle, 
Granny's Knife, and the one that mother cut the 
gut with. After they got the stump set, she took 
up the com bread and meat and roasted sweet 
potatoes, and put on the butter and supper w^as 
ready. She called the old man and Pete and part 
of the children, herself and I made a stump full, 
and there was enough children left to make another 
stump full. They only had two chairs, and they 
gave them to Pete and me, and the old man sat on 
a box. The children stood up, and the old lady 
sat on the churn. Now they say the smell of 
cooking will drive away hunger, but the sight of 
that had completely vanished my appetite, and 
I didn't feel like eating a bite, but I took a roasted 
sweet potato, and they had buttermilk, coffee and 
branch water to drink, so I washed my sweet po- 
tato down with a cup of branch water and shoved 
back; but poor Pete, I. never saw a man eat so 
hearty as he did. He just kept eating com bread 
and butter and sweet potatoes and butter, and he 
drank about a half dozen pint cups of that butter- 
miilk ; every time he would hand his cup for more 
buttermilk the old woman was too lazy to get up, 
but would lean way over to one side of the churn 
that she was sitting on, and run that long-handled 
gourd into the chum and bring out another cup 
full for Pete. Now, I got uneasy about him, for 
I had heard of pigs drinking buttermilk until they 
would burst, and I was afraid Pete was making a 
hog of himself. I couldn't tramp his toes, for I 
couldn't get my feet under the stump. I noticed 
the meat dish move a little, and directly it moved 
again. Now, it sat near the middle of the stump, 

Three Years in Arkansaji' 97 

and no one was touching it or pulling the shirt, or 
tablecloth. Pretty soon it moved again, and 
then the old lady said, ''Michael, you had just as 
well let that old cat out." "Well," said the old 
man, "I s'pose I had," and he raised up the shirt 
tail and reached down in the stump and got an old 
cat by the top of the head, and set her out on 
the floor. Then I understood it. The stump was 
hollow, and old Puss had kittens down in the hole, 
and she could smell the grub, and she wanted her 
supper, too. 

After the old man lifted the cat out, Pete con- 
cluded that he would ring off. We all got up and 
let the other section eat, and they lined up 
around the stump and went after it like a biting 

After supper was over we sat around and the 
old man told us about his experience as an early 
settler in that country in the 60 's. But I was 
too sleepy to enjoy it and then I was feeling 
a little scared about poor Pete for he had eaten 
about enough for three men and I noticed that 
he was not easy, by any means. Finally the 
children all went up stairs to bed, or rather, the 
pole for they had a black jack sapling set up 
'n one comer for a ladder. The limbs had 
been cut off about a foot long so the children 
could climb it easy, and the whoie herd went 
up stairs to sleep except the two old folks 
and Pete and I. The old man and woman 
f\rent to bed down stairs and told Pete and me 
that we could bring in our things and sleep on 
the floor. That struck us pretty hard, for we 

gS Three Years in Arkansauf 

only had a macintosh to spread down, and covered 
with a St. Louis Republic but we laid down and 
said nothing, but before we went to sleep, I heard 
the old woman say, " Mikel, Say, Mikel." "What," 
saidMikel. " Did you turn the chickens ? " *'No," 
said Mikel. " Well then I will get up and go turn 
them." So the old woman got up and went out 
in the little shed kitchen, and I heard the chickens 
making a fuss for about two minutes and she 
came back and went to bed again. *'Gosh," I 
said to myself, " I wonder what in the world she 
meant by turning the chickens." I had never 
heard of the like before. I couldn't go to sleep 
for thinking about it, and being womed about 
poor Pete. He had gone to sleep, but he kept 
up such a groaning and sighing in his sleep, that 
it kept me uneasy, and it kept running through 
my mind what in the world did she mean by 
turning the chickens. Finally I was about to go 
to sleep when Pete raised up in bed, looked all drew a long breath, and with a sigh he 
said "Lor-r-r-d." "Lordy," says I, "What's 
the matter, Pete." I have to go out. Well said 
I, if that is the case you had better be going. 
He put on his shoes and hat and away he went 
We slept with all our clothes on but our shoes and 
hats. He came back after awhile and lay down. 
I tried to go to sleep but that turning the chickens 
kept running through my mind and I could see 
the mountains we had driven over, and how near 
we came to the precipice on those poor country 
roads, and I was about to go to sleep again, when 
Pete said Lordy, and up he got and put on his 

Three Years in Arkansaw 99 

shoes and out he went. I turned over to rest 
the othei* side as the floor was jabbing my hip 
bones through the Mackintosh, but Pete came 
back and went to bed and we both went to sleep,' 
but I hadn't been to sleep long when Pete kicked 
me and that wakened me up, but about the same 
timxC, he said ''Gosh," and jumped up and put 
on one shoe and went out the door a flying. I 
turned over again and went to sleep. Pretty 
soon a squalling noise wakened me up and old 
Puss had company. There sat she and Old Tom 
right in front of the fire, facing each other, and 
shaking their fists and calling each other names 
and spitting in each other's faces. I looked for 
a club and there sat one of Pete's shoes for he 
had gone in a hurry and neglected to put one on. 
I got that shoe and threw it with all my might 
and hit old Tom on the right side of the left ear 
and turned him about three around and 
the last round his tail swiped through a bed of 
red hot coals and set it on fire from stem to stern. 
He spit and jumped for life and about the second 
jump he went out a crack in the house they used 
for a window, and when he struck the ground 
on the outside he called ''Muriah-h-h-a-a-a-a." 
You could have heard him a mile, but she had 
done gone down through a knot hole in the floor. 
I laid down and pulled the paper up over my 
shoulders and said to myself, ''I w^onder what in 
the world she meant b}?- turning the chickens." 
But about that time I heard poor Pete coming 
back, making that old shoe pat on the ground, 
as he ran. He came in and shut the door awful 

I. ore. 


Three Years in Arkansaw 

quick, pulled off the shoe, laid down and covered 
up his head, And I noticed he was breathing 
awful fast. I said *'Pete what's the matter." 

"Nuthin," said Pete. 

** I can hear your heart beating, I know there 
is something the matter." 

**Nope," said Pete. 

"But," says I, " Pete you are scared in an inch 
of your life, what did you see." 


**Nothin much, but it looked like a cat, but 
it wasn't a cat." 

** How do you know it wasn't a cat." 

*'My, it had a tail lo feet long and a solid 
blaze of fire, and its eves were as big as a saucer." 

''Did it hurt you Pete?" 

"No, but it had just as well as to scare me t^. 
death. It liked to run over me." 

''Where did it go." 

" It went down through the Jimoson patch and 
jumped into the Creek." 

"Did it swim out on the other side?" 

" I don't know, I didn't stay to see, I came to 
the house/' 

lliree Years tn Arkansaw 161 

"Why did you run to the house?" 

"Because I couldn't fly." 

''Well, Pete, I guess it was more imagination 
than anything else." 

*'No, it was more cat than I ever saw m one 

"Well," says I, **We had better go to sleep, 
for it is after midnight now, and we have a hard 
drive tomorrow." So I turned over and said 
to myself, I wonder what in the world she meant 
by turning the chickens. We both went to sleep 
and the first thing I knew the old man and woman 
were up; the okl woman was gectir.g breakfast. 
I nudged Pete and asked him how he felt. 

"Oh, I feel like I had been sick a month, I 
had such fearful dreams last night. I was drunk 
and fighting all night in my dreams." 

"Well," said I, "After the amount of supper 
you ate, it is a wonder you slept any at all." He 
put on his shoes and went out to feed the horses. 
I staid in to chat with the old lady, and about 
the first thing I asked her was what she meant 
last night when she asked the old man if he had 
turned the chickens. 

"Why, the chickens roost on the meal barrel 
and we always turn their heads in and their tails 
out so they w^on't spoil the meal during the night." 

That explained the whole thing to me, I knew 
right away v/hat had caused the whole trouble. 
It was that bull-frog buttermilk and the hen 
roost bread that had soured on poor Pete's ponch 
and had him puking all over the Jimpson patch. 

The old lady said to me, "Did youns all sleep 
good last night.'* 

102 Three Years in Arkansaw 

"Well," said I, "what sleep I got was very 
good." I thought I heard one of youns up in 
the night. 

"Yes, poor Pete was awful sick in the night." 

"What on earth was alen' ov him?" 

"Well, I will tell you. He had a camistified 
exegesis antispasmaticly, eminating from the 
germ of his animal refrigerator, and it produced 
a prolific source of iritiability in the pericranean 
epidurmace of his mental profundity." 

" I think in my soul, .and I don't see how he 
lived from one end to the other. And do you 
think he is liable to take a collapse?" 

" No, but I thought a while last night that he 
was liable to collapse." 

"Yes, and him and the old man are out to- 
gether. I hope he hasn't got an^^- ketchin disease 
that would affect Mikel." 

"Not in the least, Pete hasn't got anything 
that is ketching except lice and the Seven-year 

"You see Mikel is somewhat off his feed just 
now, and a few days previous was feeling some- 
what predisposed, and having a groping pain in 
the abandon, I gave him some patience medicine 
and I feel convicted, that it seriously repaired 
his constituencies. He is of an excrable tem- 
perament, anyway, and has always worried ever 
since he had the congregation of the lungs and 
that tonsorial affection." 

" Oh, if that is all that ails him, you get a box 
of Aunt Cathartics pills and give him nine of 
them fifteen times a day, and they will make him 
T)ush along and keep moving." 

Three Years, in Arkansaw 103 

Breakfast was soon ready, and it didn't take 
Pete and I long to eat all we wanted, paid our 
bill, and we hitched up, and was soon on the road 
taking it turn about walking behind the wagon 
and pushing up the hills and holding on the brake 
down the next. When there was a level place 
where w^e could both ride I would tell Pete ugly 
stories and laugh at him about that grand supper 
he had the night before ; but we kept steadily at 
the stave and lumber business all day — that is 
we would stave up one hill, and lumber down the 
next. Pete said we passed through Mt. Ida, the 
County seat of Montgomery County, but I didn't 
see an3rthing worth mentioning or anything that 
looked like a town. But Pete had been there 
before and they had arrested a stranger that ran 
his horse through the street. His only defense 
was that he didn't know he was in town. He 
thought it was only a wide place in the road. 

On account of my ignorance of the country and 
Pete's weakness, we didn't drive very fast and 
it was after dark when we got in sight of Hot 
Springs. The moon had just raised a leetle above 
the hills. When we got in sight of town and saw 
tlie electric lights come in view right under the 
moon, Pete exclaimed, '*0h, look "onder, the 
moon has had young ones." 

*'No," said I, ''that is electric lights on the 

''Well," said Pete, "I thought it was young 
moons." We were not long finding a wagon 
yard and put up the team, and stayed all night. 
We would take in the sights in the day time, and 
at night we would stay in the wagon yard. I an. 

t04 Three Years in Arkansaw 

not going to try to describe the town for I couldn't 
if I wanted to. But to use a plain expression, 
it is a warm town — ^both the water and the people. 
It is a town of hotels. Take them and the water 
away and it would be a match for Mt. Ida — only 
a wide place in the road. It should have been 
called ''The Devil's Springs" instead of Hot 
Springs, because the Devil owns nearly every- 
thing else in and around the town and they ought 
not to rob him of his water right. 

There were all kinds of people at Hot Springs 
and they had all kinds of diseases. The people 
come not only from all over the United States, 
but a great many from other countries. It is 
under the Arkansas law, but the residents there 
run the town to suit themselves, and the way 
they did rob the people that came there was a 
holy fright. They not only robbed the living, 
but they would rob a dead man if he had any 
money. One poor fellow who was almost dead 
went up on the hill in the Government Park and 
shot himself with a revolver. The Justice of the 
Peace got a jur}^ to hold an inquest over the dead 
body. They took him to an office and found 
$53.00 in cash on him, and they fined him $50.00 
for carrying concealed weapons and took the 
$50.00 for the fine and $3.00 for costs, and Jury, 
Judge and all went down to a saloon and spent 
the mone}^ for whiskey and all got drunk. Then 
they turned the body over to the County to bury 
him in the potter's field. That is what I call 
robbing the dead. If any one doubts this, Dr 
LeGrace, who nov\r lives in Shawnee, Oklahoma, 
?4an tell you the rest. 

Three Years in Arkansaw T05 

Pete and I soon learned all we wanted to know 
about Hot Springs. We hitched up early in the 
morning and hit the high and low places for 
Mena. We went back another road than the 
one we came for several reasons. One was the 
people didn't know us on the road we went back, 
and we wanted to camp out at night as we would 
rather sleep under the wagon than on the floor, 
on account of the quality of the bed and the price 
and Pete said he was afraid he would never have 
a hankering after corn bread and butter any more. 
We drove along till nearly dark when we came 
to a nice place to camp near a house. Pete told 
me to hold the horses while he went over to the 
house and asked perm^°3sion to camp there; he 
went across the branch and nearly to the house, 
when out came three or four big yellow dogs, 
over the fence and they grabbed poor Pete, threw 
him down, and started dr aging him down the 
hill, I could see his head going bump, bump, 
bump, down the hill over the beach roots and 
rocks. I wanted to run and help him but I had 
to hold the horses, and besides that I knew it 
was very dangerous to hurt an Arkansawyer's 
dog ; btit finally Pete got up and got them kicked 
loose and V\^as fighting them off when the lady 
of the house who had heard the noise came to 
the door and looked at them for a minute and 
called at the top of her voice and said, ''Come 
right on in the dogs won't bite," they had drug 
him fifty yards and tore his pants nearly off of 
him then, she came out with the broom and nm 
them back to the house, talked to Pete a few 
minutes and he came back to the wagon and said, 

£o6 Three Years in Arkansaw 

we would go down on the creek in the woods and 
camp as he didn't think the wild animals was 
any more dangerous than the native's dogs. 

We tore the hems of our shirts and took our 
handkerchiefs and tied up Pete's wounds and got 
some bark and what extra pins we had and fixed 
up his clothes ; he said the lady told him she never 
knew the dogs to bite anyone ; he said if that was 
true he would hate to be dogbit. 

We found a beautiful place to camp, in the 
thick woods and by a beautiful, clear little 
mountain stream; we built a camp fire, ate some 
lunch, and I told Pete some exciting stories that 
happened in the Rocky Mountains and got his 
nerves all worked up ; the dogs had disturbed his 
muscles, and his stomach had not got thoroughly 
settled and all three had his mind worked up to 
such a pitch, he was afraid to go to bed for fear 
when he awoke in the morning he would be dead. 

I pulled up some weeds and grass, and laid 
down under the wagon, but Pete went dragging 
brush and putting it around the w^agon, and 
brading it in the wheels until he could hardly 
get under himself. He said he didn't care for 
the owls a hooting or the wolves howling, biit he 
didn't want any dogs that wouldn't bite to come 
a prowling around. 

We had a splendid night's sieep, Pete was 
better all over when he got up the next morning, 
his mind was relieved, his nerves w^as quite settled 
and sores healing, and we were soon on the road 
singing * Home, Sweet Home ' ; only trouble Pete 
was like a hog with the colery ; he kept drinking 
all day; if he hadn't been afraid of the dogs he 

Three Years in Arkansaw 


would have stopped at every house for a drink. 
When the well or spring was close to the road, 
and a goard hanging close by, he would ahvays 
get a drink, and talk awhile if he saw any body 
to talk to, and try to claim relation to the most 
of them. 

We were riding along near by a large canebrake 
when we saw a lot of little pigs lying in a bed 


near by the road side, says Pete, "I will get one 
of them and take it home for a pet." He jumped 
out of the buggy and slipped up to them and 
caught the nicest one and started for the wagon 
but the pig commenced squealing and out came 
an old sow from the cane break; she was about 
fourteen hands high and she came for Pete, a 
flying. Pete dropped the pig and started for 


Three Years in Ar/^ansaw 

the wagon, as hard as he could run; his eyes a 
shining like a hounds tooth and a yelling help 
every jump. I told him to fight. "Can't you 
whip an old sow?" Pete saw she was going to 
catch him and so he went up a tree like a coon, 
at arms length just as he got about up to the 

first limb the old 
sow got there and 
up she went after 
him. The boo- 
som of Pete's 
pants didn't fit 
him very well 
and was hanging 
sorter low, and 
the old sow just 
reached up and 
caught holt of the 
seat of his pants 
and commenced 
pulling down, and 
Pete had both 
arms locked ar- 
ound the limb a 
pulling up. Pete 
had only one sus- 
pender and it fast- 
ened behind to a 
button. I stood 
right up in the 
wagon a wonder- 
ing what would 
give 'way first, 
Pete's holt on the 



Three Years in Arkansaw 109 

limb, the old sow's hold, the pants, the suspender, 
or the button ; but pretty soon away went the but- 
ton up went the suspender, off came Pete's pants, 
down went the old sow, fiat on her back, and up 
went Pete a stradle of the limb, then I got my 
breath and hollered, ''safe on first," as Pete was 
safe on the first limb of the tree, the old sow got 
up and shook the pants a few times and then 
put her feet on them and commenced to tear 
themi in strings ; but she soon found that she had 
the pants, but no Pete, so she threw them down 
and flew away in the canebrake to find her pigs. 
I told Pete to get down and come on and we 
would go, he said he was afraid, I had to drive 
the wagon under the tree and Pete, dropped down 
off the limb in the wagon, I told him to get out 
and get his pants on, he said, " I will not for two 
reasons, one is, the old sow may get me, and the 
other is, they are not w^orth getting." 

"But what will you do?" I said. 

"I will do like I did when I was a little boy, 
I will do without." 

But I got off the wagon and got the pants, or 
strings as they appeared to be, and we both 
managed to get them on him, and tied them up 
with hickory bark as best we could. Then Pete 
sat down and pulled the lap robe up high around 
him to hide his pants and person, and I drove 
on, feeling sure we would get home soon as I 
knew Pete wouldn't get out anymore to get a 
drink unless it was at a branch in the woods. 

Pete seemed to be getting weak and weary and 
downhearted, sick and sore, I told him nice stories 
and kept him cheered up, and with the assistance 


Three Years in Arkansaw 


Three Years in Arkansaw iii 

of a pair of pole lines I pushed the ponies along 
and arrived in Mena a little before sun down. 
We came in the back way and up back alleys, 
for Pete didn't want • to be seen on the front 
streets, or by any one that knew him; finally we 
drove up to his house. I hollered hello, and his 
Vv'ife came out; she looked at the team and then 
looked at me, and said, "Where in the world is 

''This is him," said I. 

" I think in my sole poor Pete what on earth 
is the matter with you, and what in the world 
have you been doing." 

"Don't ask any questions," said Pete, "but go 
on in the house and turn down the bed." 

"Well," said I, "Now Mrs. Cook this is all 
that is left of Pete, and you owe me what ever 
he is worth to you, for I have fought blood and 
almost died for him and brought him home in 
as good shape as I possible could. I think with 
careful attention, care and food he will soon be 
all right again if you will keep him at home ; but 
he will never be able to go to Hot Springs any 
more. There is not much the matter with him 
only he eat too much and was scared to death 
by the cats and eaten up by the dogs and hogs, 
and had his clothes toren off him that is all, but 
if I had not been right there to fight for him he 
w^ould have been eaten up half dozen times and 
you would have had no more Pete." So I un- 
harnessed the ponies and put them in the bam 
and she unharnessed Pete and put him to bed. 

I would go over and see Pete every few days, 
and see how he was getting along; he was sick 

112 Three Years in Arkansaw 

abed for three weaks with nervous prostration 
and other complicated diseases; but he finally 
got able to be out an the streets and, work a little 
but he was like a stunted Kansas pig in grass- 
hopper time, he never did shed off and look fine, 
fat and froliky like he did before he went to Hot 
Springs, If he would be walking along and hear 
a cat squall, a dog bark, or a pig squeel he would 
jump four feet high, and climb a tree if there was 
any close by. One reason Pete never went back 
to Hot Springs, he had too many watches, be- 
sides an old automatic two faced stem-wind 
Waterberry. The sheriff, the ragman, his wife 
and the devil was all watching him. We had a 
splendid hotel trade at Mena and got money 
enough to buy a ticket to Shawnee, Oklahoma, 
and felt Arkansaw like a train from a tramp, and 
went kerfiap out of the frying pan into the fire. 
If you will hold your breath about six months 
I will tell you how it all happened over there in 

I hav lived in i6 States 
But of all I ever saw 

There is no place like living 
Down in old Arkansaw. 

They all wear homade clothing 
Both the men and females 

While the children with dirty faces 
All go in their shirt tails. 

Three Years tn Arkansaw iii 

The men drink moonshine whiskey 

The women chew and dip 
And the big gals go barefooted 

With tobacco on their lip. 

They cook by the fireplace 
With a skilit and a lid 

And all liv on black coffee 
Sow bossom and cornbread. 

All are free-hearted 

And respect the moral law 
As the reason I. love to liv 

£)own in old Arkansaw. 

Marion Hughes, 
Muskogee, I. T 



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Lives ¥ Famous Men 

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Self-Educactof Ss\ Al^ehz^ 

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